During the month of January, many people start new exercise regimes to get fit and lose weight. However, starting any type of exercise after a long period of inactivity, needs to be approached gradually to avoid injuries which can put an end to your resolve to get fit in 2013.
According to Sports Medicine Australia, each year 1 in 17 Australians is sidelined as a result of a sports injury.
“At the start of every year, many people dive into their New Year’s resolution of physical activity without good preparation and suffer injuries that restrict their steady progress toward their fitness goal,” said Sports Medicine Australia spokesperson, Dr David Bolzonello.
“The risk of injuries should not deter people’s enthusiasm and motivation to get fit and healthy. All they need to remember is to undertake some simple measures before, during and after physical activity. This preparation should reduce the likelihood of getting injured and increase the chances of a happily fulfilled New Year resolution.”
Tips for an injury-free New Year resolution:
- Avoid doing too much too soon. Start at a level and pace you’re comfortable with. Gradually increase your workload over a series of sessions.
- Always warm up and cool down when undertaking activity. Warming up prepares you both mentally and physically for performance and decreases your risk of being injured. To warm up, simply start your chosen activity at a slower pace. Also remember to cool down after activity sessions to help reduce muscle soreness and stiffness.
- Take care when exercising in hot conditions, which are common in January. During activity, try to rest in the shade whenever possible and protect yourself by wearing light clothing, sunscreen, sunglasses and a hat.
- Always drink fluids (water or a sports drink) before, during and after activity. Drink at least 2 cups (500ml) an hour before exercise, 150ml every 15 minutes during exercise and enough to fully re-hydrate yourself after exercise.
- Wear protective equipment such as helmets, padding and/or mouthguards, where required. Good quality footwear are also a must as a number of studies have found a relationship between the type of footwear worn and the incidence of injuries to the lower limb.
- Know what to do if an injury occurs, especially if you have suffered an injury in the last 12 months. Injury statistics have found previous injury increases the risk of further injury by 57%. Use RICER – Rest, Ice, Compression, Elevation and Referral.
For more information visit the Sports Medicine Australia website: sma.org.au
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