Top tips if you are starting an exercise challenge

Getting back into exercise after a long break? Have you signed up for a charity 10k, cycle ride or even a marathon…?

Many people find that training for a goal or a specific event, especially if there is a charity involved, a really motivating prospect. However if it has been a while since you did any real training you may find you are concerned about injuries or want to know how to look after yourself.

Having ran an Osteopathic clinic for over 10 years and specialising in sports injuries I have seen many patients try to do too much too soon or not know how to look after themselves properly.

“Being a keen competitive tennis player for many years I have learnt, sometimes the hard way, that looking after yourself is key to staying injury free and being able to do what you love to do.”

I would like to share with you some top tips on staying injury free and what to do if you do get a niggle.

Starting again exercises

My favorite back exercise and a squat is a great all-round mobility exercise

Top Tips

1. Start with mobility first – if you haven’t done any regular exercise in a while (1 year+) and you have a sedentary job then start with flexibility work. If you have tight muscles to start with (hamstrings, calf muscles, back) then they are only going to get tighter! You could start with a yoga or pilates 6-week programme or a few home exercises such as squats and back exercises, like below. Best to get advice from someone like myself or a personal trainer first.

2.Build up slowly – make sure you follow a structured programme designed for your level. If you skip sessions, then repeat. Building up too quickly will mean your muscles will not have time to adapt and you run the risk of overuse injuries.

3. Ensure you warm up and warm down adequately – a warm up should be dynamic movement related to the activitiy. So, if you are running, start with walking for 10 mins first. Also take time to do at least a 15-minute warm-down involving static stretches of 30 seconds of each muscle group used.

4. Variety is key – with any training programme ensure you add in variety so different muscle groups are used. For example, a running programme would include gym/swim/cycle etc..

5. What to do if you feel a niggle? – mild muscle soreness is normal with any increase in exercise but if it’s anything more, then stop the exercise, pop on some ice and/or anti-inflammatories and ideally seek a health professional like myself for a diagnosis and some guidance.

Finally, well done for signing up for a challenge and I’m sure you will get some great rewards from it. Getting back into exercise is great for your health and if you follow my tips I’m sure you will have a smooth course.

We’re here to help so please don’t hesitate to contact us if you want some advice.

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