During these unprecedented times, many of us have had to adapt our exercise routine and, as a result, as therapists we have seen a rise in the number of people coming to see us in the clinic for home workout related injuries.
If you are planning to start or continue with a home exercise program, here are some of our top tips to help keep you motivated and injury free.
1: Write it Down.
It can be challenging to start an exercise program and often even more challenging to stick to one, especially when it’s raining outside! Research has shown that we are more likely to adhere to a workout plan long term if we write down the specifics: time, date and location. I highly recommend the book Atomic Habits, by James Clear, which is a helpful resource for building good habits (not just relating to exercise).
2: Avoid Doing Too Much Too Soon.
This is equally important for psychological as well as physical well-being. If you make your workouts too challenging to start with, you are more likely to feel mentally and physically exhausted and give up on your program early!
To reduce the risk of overuse injuries, our tissues need time to adapt. This means that we should gradually expose our bodies to new training loads built up over a period of months (or years), rather than days. This concept should be applied to all types of exercise, even low impact.
When it comes to exercise, there can be too much of a good thing. Just because Eliud Kipchoge (the current marathon world record holder) runs 200km+ per week does not mean that’s a healthy goal for a beginner or even intermediate runner! Be mindful when choosing a training routine and consider your current fitness level carefully before committing to it. For more information on starting a basic running routine, check out last month’s post.
3: Follow a Guided Program.
Poor programming and exercise technique can result in the development of muscle imbalances, overload and overuse injuries over time. We generally advise that you seek advice from a professional or follow a guided exercise program to ensure that your home workout routine is safe, well-balanced, and includes graded progressions that will help you to achieve your goals.
If you wish to discuss your fitness goals and an appropriate guided exercise program with us or if you’re looking to manage, treat or avoid injury, our team is here to help.
4: Don’t Ignore Pain.
Think of pain as the brain’s ‘alarm system’ which draws attention to a potential threat to the body. What starts as a little niggle or discomfort can quickly develop into a persistent and pesky injury if left untreated for too long. This means that it’s rarely a good idea to push through the pain.
While it’s important not to ignore pain, you don’t always need to panic! Injury doesn’t necessarily mean that your exercise routine has to stop. More often than not, a temporary period of off-loading and adaptation is required to allow for the irritated tissues to settle down. Modification of exercises and cross training can be useful tools to maintain fitness while our bodies heal.
If you’re concerned that your symptoms are not improving despite efforts to offload and modify your activity, please book in to see a Physiotherapist sooner rather than later. It’s always better to nip little injuries in the bud, before they become a more complex issue.
Keep up the home workouts, everyone! We’re all in this together and the team at Alaia is here to support you if you need us. You can book an initial appointment with one of our Physiotherapists HERE.