So, January has arrived and the aftermath of the eating and drinking has hit home. Typically, this is when the masses hit the streets and pound the pavements to try and work off the excess weight.
This is also the time when I receive the most complaints about soft tissue injuries, sore knees and stiff backs. These complaints generally come from fairly casual exercisers who have not exercised for at least a month, and are generally carrying a little more weight than usual.
So before you hit the streets, consider the following
1. Have you done any glute/leg or core strengthening work so that the right muscles are working and giving you the support needed to complete the exercise.
2. Have you warmed up properly, and when I say properly I don't mean the token touch your toes stretch that I see so often.
3.What exercise will you be performing and is your body up to this level yet?
4.What surface are you running on?
5. Do you understand how to stretch properly afterwards?
6. What type of foods, and what amount of water will it take for you to recover properly in order to train comfortably next time.
And here are some handy hints to help you stay injury free
1. Perform some basic leg (squat, lunges, step ups, glute firing) exercises 3 times a week for 2 weeks before attacking the streets.
2. Perform basic core exercises to switch on the body's support system which will help keep the back in line and help you keep your form when tired.
3.Use dynamic stretching to warm up and static stretching to warm down.
4. If you are running buy some good trainers. Go to a specialist running shop and they will assess your gait and fit you with some gleaming trainers that will support your feet properly. Also if possible avoid running on concrete as this has a very high impact on your joints, especially knees.
5. Drink plenty of water after exercise, I would recommend at least a litre within 2 hours as a general rule but if you have sweated a lot, drink more. If you get to the point when you are thirsty, its too late, your already dehydrated.
6. Eat within 40 minutes of exercise. This is the best time to eat as your metabolism is racing and good healthy food will be used by the body straight away and not stored as fat.
Of course I am a personal trainer so please don't take this as a sales pitch, but if you feel you don't understand any of the points I have made please ask a health professional, or a friend who does. For the sake of 3-6 sessions with a professional you could be avoiding injury, uncomfort and ultimately achieving your fitness goals.