Time to get fit! Great! Read this first! Posted on October 19, 2017Spring is here! Time to exercise for Summer!Spring is here and all of us are looking forward to longer days and more time to get out and exercise.We thought it would be a great newsletter to give you our top tips on how to prevent injury once you start exercising.Tip 1: See us if you have had a pre-existing injuryThe research shows the greatest risk factor to having a lower leg injury is having a past history of having a lower leg injury! So, before you start off the running programme, get checked out by one of our fabulous physios to make sure you are right to go with your exercise programme. Poor biomechanics or existing muscle imbalances can be present without having symptoms.Tip 2: Start at a comfortable moderate level and build up from thereIf you have a goal of running 10 kms or swimming 3 kms then don’t try to do it in one week!Our body’s tissues need to adapt to increased load especially if we go from stop to full throttle in a matter of a day or 2. Bones will undergo a stress reaction, muscles can undergo micro strain leading to delayed onset muscle soreness and tendons will also have a reaction to increased load. The ability of the body to cope with this increased stress will be crucial to whether you get an injury. Unfortunately, if you suffer prolonged pain after exercise then it is likely that you have overloaded your tissues! Plan to start at a comfortable level and build slowly. Plan to start running every second day and do some stretches, core work or even strength work in between. Mix it up a bit but don’t do running or swim every day as this doesn’t give your body time for recovery.Tip 3: Increase the load around 10 % per weekResearch has shown that sudden increases in exercise in athletes will result in a greater risk of injury. Researchers have robust discussions on how much to increase load per week but we find that a 10% increase is about right.Tip 4: Work on your flexibilityStretching alone will not be a shield against injury but will assist in improving joint range of movement and biomechanics. Consider the use of a foam roller on the ITB (iliotibial band) if you are going to take up running.Tip 5: Work on your strengthResearch will show that resistance training will decrease the risk of injury with exercise. Aim for 2 to 3 sessions per week of strength training.Tip 6: Invest in a new pair of runnersIf you are starting to run or be involved in a sport that involves running then look at a new pair of running shoes. Unfortunately, running shoes do wear out and the cushioning component of the shoe, the EVA foam sole will start to lose its shock absorbing capabilities. The best running shoe is one that is comfortable so make sure you try on different brands at the shoe shop before you decide on the shoe for you.Tip 7: Listen to your bodyPost exercise soreness is common once you start to exercise. Most of this is adaptation of the muscle system. Warning signs that you are suffering an exercise injury arePain that does not settle with restJoint, muscle or tendon swellingProlonged stiffnessPain at the start of exercise that warms up and goes awayNight pain after exerciseIf you have any of these symptoms it is best to check in with our physios to make sure you are on the right track with your exercise programme.Tip 8: Make sure you warm upPrepare the body for the activity or movement Preferably make the warm up dynamic (moving not static stretching) If you are unsure of your current warm up, come in and see your All Care PhysiotherapistTip 9: Make sure you cool downHere is where static stretches can be beneficial Cooling down even as little as walking post gym routine or run can help decrease muscle soreness post-exercise. Tip 10: Make it funEnjoy your exercise, pick something you know you will come back to. It is often helpful to have a goal (like a 5km run) though leave enough time and follow tips 2 and 3. So, there we have it. Our top 10 tips to keep you out of injury this spring. Remember, if you have a niggle or suspect an injury then come in and let us sort it out for you. Ring 1300 291 133.