Don’t let injury spoil your New Year’s resolutions in 2023!
With the arrival of the New Year, many people set resolutions to become healthier and increase their fitness levels. Setting health and fitness goals can be a great way to increase your motivation leading into a new year, however, with your newfound motivation levels there can be some risks of becoming injured which could quickly lead to your new goals being spoiled.
For many people December and the Christmas period is busy, with lots of social activities and time off to enjoy yourself – after a busy year we all deserve some down time. Unfortunately, many injuries commonly occur when people start doing a lot of exercise after having not been very active and have a greater risk of overtraining and developing an overuse injury. Some examples of common overuse injuries include Achilles tendon injuries, shin splints and knee pain. Overuse injuries typically develop when we expose our bodies to excessive amounts of physical activity and forces that it has not recently been used to, meaning that it has not had the opportunity to build up a tolerance (strength and endurance) to cope with these increased activity levels. For example, if you have not run for 3 months and then start running every day of the week, your body’s muscles, tendons and bones will not have developed a tolerance to be able to handle these loads that are being repeatedly placed on them. In these cases, niggles can develop and quickly progress into an injury.
There is good news though – many of these injuries can be avoided through following some simple exercise and training tips that are based on well-established training principles. While there are many factors that can lead to an overuse injury occurring, these tips are designed to be easy to follow and aim to keep you striving for your New Year’s resolutions:
- Exercise and training progression is key
It is easy to over do it when starting out on a new fitness kick. When you start back exercising it is important to give your body’s muscles, tendons and bones some time to adapt to the new forces you are placing on them. So rather than hitting your first week back at full speed and training hard every day, take some time over the first couple of weeks to gradually build up the duration, volume and intensity of exercise that you are doing. For most of us reaching our new fitness goals should be viewed as a marathon and not a sprint!
- Plan for some rest and recovery between your excise sessions
Time for recovery is just as important as your exercise sessions to allow for your body to recover. Recovery days are important within your exercise schedule and can include time for stretching, a gentle low intensity session or a complete rest day. Good quality sleep and nutrition are also very important components of recovering well.
- Listen to your body
Pay attention to how your body feels during and after exercise. If you’re feeling excessively sore or tired, it may be a sign that you need to reduce the intensity of your workouts, take a short break, or seek assistance from a medical professional such as a physiotherapist.
- Work with a physiotherapist
A physiotherapist can help you develop a safe and effective exercise plan that considers your fitness level, goals, and any underlying health conditions. They can also help you identify and address any weaknesses or factors that contribute to overtraining and may lead to the development of an overuse injury.
In summary, it’s important to set exercise goals and work towards them, but it’s equally important to listen to your body and allow time for rest and recovery. Through avoiding overtraining, you can reduce your risk of developing an injury and improve your overall health and well-being as you work towards reaching your New Year’s health and fitness resolutions.
Written by Liam Toohey
Lake Health Group