Christmas really is almost upon us now so I hope you are ready and enjoy the festive season. I’m not going to be preaching to you this week about food, over indulgence or exercise over the holiday period.
By now you will already have made your mind up about what you are going to do so whatever it is, I hope you have a lovely time.
I’m sure you’ll be expecting the ‘however’ comment though so I’m not going to disappoint you! You will no doubt be enjoying the run up to and full Christmas period now. However, I also know that you will probably be turning your attentions to the New Year soon and all that it has to bring.
You ‘will’ be bombarded with adverts about getting fit and joining a gym or exercise class. There ‘will’ be some crazy diets being advertised by celebrities and even some fitness professionals. You will quite possibly be feeling guilty about some of your excesses over the holidays and the clever advertisers will be keen to take advantage of that.
Did you know though that this is also a very busy time for Physiotherapists, Biomechanics Coaches, Osteopaths and sports therapists?
There is a relationship between the feelings of guilt, aggressive advertising and injuries so here is your warning. It’s an early warning and one that I hope you will pay attention too:
If you take up a new exercise and fitness programme in the New Year ask yourself these questions first:
Am I returning to exercise after a long (more that 3 months) break?
Am I unfit and unused to exercise?
Have I had a bad (painful) back that is either current or has been an intermittent problem?
Have I suffered with joint or muscular pains?
Am I over weight and not as fit as I probably think I am (be honest)
Have I a heart, blood pressure or cholesterol problem?
Those six simple questions (when answered truthfully) will help you decide what type of exercise is suitable for you.
I certainly don’t recommend that you start doing something vigorous to start with.
Even running will quite possibly be too much so I recommend that you steer clear of any programme that involves aggressive exercises like the circuits DVD’s being advertised on TV or tractor tyre flipping programmes.
I’m sure you will have heard of RSI (injury caused by repetitive movements) so please consider the meaning of that before embarking on your new fitness programme.
If you answered ‘yes’ to being overweight, unfit or suffered with circulatory problems then my advice is that you avoid high intensity and high impact programmes.
The popular High Intensity Interval training (HIIT) can put undue strain on your heart and joints so is not advisable for a beginner. High impact and repetitive exercises such as running can cause a myriad of problems so don’t expect to run a marathon in your first week.
It is easy to put a strain on your back and pelvis by performing exercise when your body is already misaligned. Even Pilates can have a detrimental effect if not taught properly.
As a Biomechanics Coach I am keen to see people exercising safely and effectively. If injury prevention is on your list of priorities you might like to try a simple Biomechanics assessment to discover which of your muscles are working too hard and which are not working hard enough. ‘Effective’ exercise at the right times is far better than ‘aggressive’ exercise performed at the wrong time.