As the new year commences we often take a look at ourselves and make plans for self improvement. With the world still in turmoil, many people are coming to the conclusion a healthy body is top of the list. But if you aren't a natural exerciser where to you start? Take a look at our top tips below:
Tip 1: Start slowly
Many people start the New Year with lots of exercise enthusiasm, which usually results in overtraining and either injury or giving it up as it is too hard. 😮💨 So our first top tip is to take it slowly.
Walking - If you want to increase your cardio fitness Walking is a great place to start. Try once a week initially and build it up over a few months to twice or even 3 times a week. Walking is one of the best ways to burn fat. Slow, long duration will allow you to access those fat stores. We don't start burning fat until around 30 mins into exercise, so try to walk for at least 45mins if you can. Walking is more fun with a friend, so perhaps make it a weekly catch up walk. 😀
Cycling - Remember that rusty bike you have in the garage! How about getting it out and pumping up those tyres. Can you use your bike a little more often? Nipping to the shops for some milk? Maybe grab the bike rather than the car. If still commuting to work, could you go on the bike? Off to meet a friend for a cuppa? Grab the bike.... little changes can really add up when it comes to fitness and an added benefit is using less petrol, so saving money! 💰
Jogging - Ready to take your fitness to the next level? Maybe try some jogging. Many people come in to see us at The Reinge Clinic because they have taken up running and injured themselves. The key to running is to build up slowly. Start with a walk/run protocol and aim to build to continuous running over 6 weeks or so. Don't worry about shoes, you trusty old simple pumps or plimsolls are fine to run in. Try to keep your foot under your body as you run so you don't over stride. The NHS have a great free app called Couch to 5k which is perfect for beginning to run. 👍
Tip 2: Strength training is important
Strength training is being shown to be more and more important as we get older. The aging body breaks down muscle faster than it builds it, meaning that if you do nothing you will get weak really quickly and this leads to pain, stability issues and often trips and falls. This process begins much faster than you would imagine. When you hit your 40's the balance is starting to tip, do don't delay, start strength training. Now don't panic, it doesn't mean you need to hit the gym and pump weights... lets look at the alternatives.
Body weight - If you are new to strength training, body weight exercises are fine to begin with. The aim of strength training is to overload your body. So if you are starting out, this can be as simple as trying to get out of your chair or off the floor without using your hands to assist. These are what we call functional exercises and great for building strength. So next time you kneel down to pick something up off the floor. Try to get up without using your hands for assistance. You will be surprised how many times you do this and soon you will be able to do this movement with no issues. Getting up from the chair? Try to do this without using your hands! After a few weeks you will not need any assistance to get up. What about sitting down?Do you collapse into your chair? Try to lower yourself slowly. All these things will help build your strength and are simple to fit into your daily life.
Overload - The next level is to overload your body with a weight of some form. So if you are getting up off the chair, hold some heavy books while you do it..... Try getting up from the floor in a kneeling position whilst holding something heavy maybe a bag of flour. This means you have to recruit more muscle fibres and the movement is harder, so your body had to adapt again.
Speed - Once you have basic strength, you can make the action harder by slowing it down. So again, getting up from the chair..... now how slowly can you do it? This is another way to overload those muscles.... they now can't use momentum to assist so have to recruit more muscle fibres and that creates overload again.
If you are struggling with any of these we can help. 🙂. At the Reinge Clinic we are Sports Scientists so really understand how to train the body to get the results you want. So give us a call and we can create a bespoke program for you, whether you want to get out of the chair safely or need to improve your times in competitive sport and everything in between.
The Reinge Clinicis a Physiotherapy, Sports Therapy, Sports Science clinic based in Kenilworth, Warwickshire. Take a look at our facebook page for our pain, injury and exercise advice posts and learn more about us on our website.
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