Summer fitness; 5 tips to help prevent injury
Authored by Ben Ludbrook (Sports and Exercise Physiotherapist).
When the sun comes out and the weather improves the temptation is to jump straight into an intensive exercise program to kick start a fitness regime. Boot camps, gym classes and running programs are all fantastic ways to help improve your general health, wellbeing and fitness but can result in injury if you are not properly prepared. Following these simple tips can help prevent some of the unwanted injuries putting a halt on your new fitness program.
Tip 1: Load management
- Have an understanding of what your baseline level of loading involves. Jumping straight into an intensive 8 week boot camp or training 5 times per week without some preparation is almost guaranteed to result in injury. Using Fitbits or health apps on our phones can help you to gain an understanding of your current level of loading. A good rule of thumb is working out your weekly average number of steps per week over the preceding 4 weeks. To help prevent injuries only increase this weekly average by 10-20%, as you are building your training up. A gradual build in activity levels can help prevent overload injuries such as muscle strains, shin splints, knee cap pain and bone stress injuries.
Tip 2: Address underlying injuries
- It is important to address your underlying injuries prior to beginning a fitness program. These issues may be just in the background during your normal daily activities but they may become more apparent when you start to run, jump, squat or ride a bike at a higher level than normal. It is easier to address these issues now rather than needing a frustrating rest period during the middle of a training program. Your Sports and Exercise Physiotherapist can help you overcome these injuries.
Tip 3: Strengthening exercise is protective of injury
- An individually designed strengthening program that is gradually built up can help protect your body from injury. For example, quadriceps strength and calf endurance can be important factors with running based activities as they can help prevent knee overload injuries. Your Sports and Exercise Physiotherapist can help assist you with designing a program specific to your needs.
Tip 4: Cross training
- Cross training allows us to continue to build our training activities and helps prevent overload injuries. Consecutive days of squatting, jumping and running can excessively load our lower limb joints. A swimming session or yoga/pilates session can be restorative on your mind and can continue to develop other focal fitness areas but allows your joints a well-deserved rest from weight bearing activities.
Tip 5: Diet is king
- A simple rule to follow is, “you can’t out exercise a bad diet”. What we fuel our bodies with is a crucial part of any exercise program. Weight loss is often a key part of why we are exercising and it can help prevent some injuries. Our Sports Dietician can you give some guidance on the best eating plan to assist you to your goals.
Our Team at Prahran Sports Medicine can assist you to reach your fitness goals and help prevent injury along the way. Happy training!!
Ben Ludbrook is an APA Titled Sports and Exercise Physiotherapist. He works at Lifecare Prahran Sports Medicine on Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday.
The clinic is close to suburbs including Malvern, South Yarra, Toorak, Armadale, St Kilda East, Caulfield, Richmond and Hawthorn, and has early and late appointments for all your Sports Medicine and Physiotherapy needs.