Beginner’s Guide to Exercise - Tips from your Physiotherapist
New year, new decade, and new dreams, hopes and visions for our lives. Every year the pattern is usually the same, we start with a bout of energy and excitement, reinvigorated from the holidays and ready to start a fresh. New year’s resolutions are made or for some simply a “change in lifestyle”. We all want to live healthier, better and more successful lives and one of the most common goals is around fitness and exercise.
Many of us begin the year with fitness or body goals which we set out to achieve. We sign up to a gym, we join classes, bootcamps or take up a new hobby. Unfortunately, few of us have guidance throughout this process and end up getting injuries or quitting due to burnout or failure to see the desired results.
One of the most common phrases we hear from beginners to exercise is “No one told me about this when I started” or “I wish someone had told me about this”. Having this in mind, we have decided to compile a simple guide for anyone starting out a new exercise program to assist in preventing injuries and therefore ensuring we see those results. Yay!!!
1. Check Your Health
· It is important to check your health to make sure it is safe for you to exercise. This is especially true if you have been sedentary for a while, have chronic health conditions that may be affected by exercise, are above 55 years of age, or are unsure.
2. Have a Plan
· One of the most common mistakes people make is embarking on a fitness journey without a plan.
· Before you start you need to choose what your goals are, what exercise programme you want to follow, how often and at what intensity. If you're completely new to this consider starting with a trainer!
· It is very important to warm-up before exercising, this makes your muscles more pliable allowing more movement to occur without injury.
· It is important to warm-up the muscle groups you will be exercising. You may do dynamic stretches (static not advisable here) or slow movements or mobilisations to warm up!
· Stretching should be part if your exercise programme. It assists in decreasing load to your joints and keeps your range of motion healthy.
· It is important to remember to only stretch warmed up muscles. Alternatively use dynamic stretches
5. Use Correct Posture
· Having the right posture while exercising not only prevents injuries but ensures you get the best results for the exercises you are performing.
· Remember: Starting the right way is easier than correcting later.
6. Use Correct Equipment
· Choosing the right equipment for the activity to protect your joints, skin and for temperature control is crucial. Factors like size, material and resistance are crucial.
· Another important factor is maintenance, make sure you check, clean, maintain and change as needed.
7. Rest & Recharge
· This one is important not only for your physical health but emotional and psychological too.
· Manage your load and pace in exercise. Rest between sets, between workouts during the week, rest during your leave, and most importantly, GET ENOUGH SLEEP!
8. Manage Your Progress
· Increase your load, be it in weights, frequency or intensity gradually. Allow for some flexibility, there may be seasons of fast progress and others of slower. Have it in your plan to review your progress and exercise plan.
· Remember to spice it up from time-to-time.