To ensure you start your new fitness journey on the best possible footing, Ascenti physiotherapist Debbie Christer shares her top five tips for avoiding muscle, joint and tendon injuries.
1. Take a phased approach to building up your fitness
Start with a graded low-impact exercise programme that your joints can cope with. You’ll find it much easier to maintain and you’re a lot more likely to stay motivated well into the New Year.
Walking, swimming and cycling are all low impact exercises that you can do to get into the swing of things.
2. Mix it up
Variety is the spice of life, and when it comes to exercise and your joints, it is vital. Doing different activities, such as combining your cardio and strengthening exercises, will give your joints a chance to recover.
Experiencing different activities will also help to improve your muscle function and general fitness. Remember, though, to warm up and cool down with gentle stretches before and after activities to maintain joint and muscle flexibility!
3. Make it regular
Taking regular exercise is key to improving joint mobility and function. You can reduce joint stiffness by keeping on the move and avoiding sitting for long periods of time - little things like getting up from your chair regularly, changing your posture frequently and simply walking and moving around all make a difference and help to improve the circulation to your muscles and joints.
4. Be SMART
When exercising, think SMART to reduce the risks of joint, tendon and muscle pain and strains:
Specific - Think about the goal you want and feel you can achieve. Build your exercise regime up gradually to avoid pushing yourself too hard and getting injured.
Monitor - Closely monitor your progress to help ensure that you’re training within your limits and according to your fitness level. It will also keep you motivated as you should see improvements over time.
Achievable - Be realistic to avoid under or overtraining and then not being able reach your goals, either due to lack of fitness or painful joints.
Relevant - Choose a goal that you feel is important and that will keep you focused. This will not only improve your joint fitness, but also your general health and well-being and keep you motivated.
Timely - Think about how long it will take to achieve your goal and continue with maintaining your fitness on a regular basis.
5. Ask for help if you need it
The amount of information out there in terms of exercise programmes and do’s and don'ts can be overwhelming.
As the UK’s largest independent provider of physiotherapy services, we’re here to answer your questions around how physiotherapy can help you to reach your goals and elevate your health.
You can find out more about the treatments we offer here or find your nearest Ascenti physiotherapist.