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side view woman jogging running on road cold sunny winter day

It’s December…the month where the temperature plummets, it’s dark when you start work, and dark again when you finish. It’s not all doom and gloom though, the festive season is upon us and soon you’ll be winding down for a well-earned break.

In the early months of each year, we see an influx of clients presenting with injuries sustained whilst trying to get back in shape following a festive blowout. As it’s the season for giving- let us guide you through a fail proof approach to your return to fitness in 2022.

First up, the basics…

Start slow!

Rome wasn’t built in a day and fitness does not come overnight, no matter what the Instagram influencers and their detox tea say. Essentially there is no replacement for time and consistency. Too often we see people who have started going to the gym or have taken up running and two weeks into their fitness journey they’ve sustained an injury from trying to do too much, too soon. Alongside this, we often see people throwing themselves into their new year’s routine before addressing any long-standing injuries. An approach that will only set you back!

We know there’s nothing worse than settling into a routine for it all to come crashing down. To avoid this, if you have an underlying issue then come and see us for a Physiotherapy appointment before starting your return to fitness.

Set yourself goals

Regardless of the task, anything is easier to do if you have a set goal in mind. To give yourself the best possible chance at success, you should define goals and milestones before starting any routine. 

When we see our clients at Smart Physiotherapy, we set goals so that we can work towards recovery, and we’d encourage you to do the same to give your fitness journey greater direction. 

When setting goals, they should be:

  • Specific– your goal needs to be clear and easy to understand.
  • Measurable– give yourself a specific target to aim for, for example if you’re trying to lose weight then 5lbs in a month could be a target.
  • Attainable– this is where it can get difficult. If fitness is your goal, then running a marathon at the end of the January probably isn’t that realistic if running a mile is a struggle now. However, 5km could well be an appropriate goal to work towards.
  • Relevant– set goals that are important for where you are in your life currently. Choose something that is motivating to you, this could be an event or just a personal milestone.
  • Time Bound– set a timescale in which you want to achieve your goal, for example, working up to a half marathon by June.

Recover, recover, recover.

Recovery is vital and we mean VITAL, to reduce the risk of injury and maximise gains. There is absolutely nothing to be gained from working out as hard as you can every day, especially if your body isn’t used to it. 

Optimum recovery ensures that our body get the maximum gains from the exercise we are doing, whether that be fat loss or muscle gain so it’s vital that you factor in rest days to your plan amongst other things.

Our Physiotherapists recommend:

  • Rest – the simplest and probably most effective means of recovery is rest. Sleep is where the body re-builds, so make sure you’re getting your 8 hours in. We will be delving in to the specifics of sleep in a later blog.
  • Nutrition – for the body to repair you need to ensure that you’re giving it the building blocks to do so. This comes in the form of a balanced diet including all of the macronutrients, such as your proteins, carbohydrates and fats. Getting enough micronutrients (vitamins and minerals) is also just as important as they help vital processes in the body take place. These are found in a number of foods but most prevalent in fresh fruit and vegetables. How to plan your diet varies greatly depending on your goal. If you are not sure where to start, I’d highly recommend booking in with a nutritionist so your plan is crystal clear from the off.
  • Move – if you’re having a rest day ensure you’re not sat around watching Netflix all day. The best way to sooth those aching muscles is by active recovery. This could be in the form of a steady walk around the park, a light mobility routine or spending 10 minutes on a static bike. Just getting the body gently moving works wonders, especially to get over the dreaded DOMs.
  • Stretch/Mobility – sore muscles that have been worked hard will naturally tighten up, it’s important we limber in order to reduce the risk of injury. If you’re unsure of which stretches/mobility drills to be doing, then we would suggest a screening appointment with our Physiotherapists for an individualised programme.
  • Massage – if you’re experiencing aches or looking to enhance your recovery, schedule a sports massage appointment.

Enjoy yourself!

Regardless of how you choose to keep fit, make sure you enjoy it! Fitness should be fun. If you don’t like running out in the cold then don’t run out in the cold, find an indoor activity that you do enjoy instead. If you struggle motivating yourself to go to the gym, then find ways of enjoying it. Some of the best ways of doing this are finding a gym partner, getting a PT, participating in classes or creating a motivating playlist.

Book an appointment

As always, our doors are open for Physiotherapy and Massage. To find out more about our services, get in touch with us today.

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