Megan, one of our osteopaths, here at Back 2 Balance, gives us her 4 top tips for getting through the physical distancing without injury, when exercising (whether new to exercise, or an old pro!)
As we are all stuck in isolation, a lot of us have found ourselves with way more time to exercise. There has been a load of home workouts posted online. However, if you aren’t used to spending this much time training you may have found yourself with a few aches and pains. Here are my top tips for avoiding injury during this period.
Tip 1– Doing a proper warm up and cool down- research has found a dynamic warm up is best for increasing performance and avoiding injury. Warm ups increase blood flow and circulation to muscles, warms up the body, loosens joints and makes us more mobile ready for the work out ahead. Dynamic means movement, so stretching the muscles while they are under load. For example, hamstring walk outs stretch the hamstrings (back of your legs) while they are under tension. Your warm-up should be like a less intense mini work out. Here is an example of a warm-up to do before exercise…
- 3 minutes cardio to raise the heart rate- either running or skipping.
- 5 hamstring walk outs
- 10 air squats (body weight squats)
- 10 pike squats– squat down as low as you can with your elbows pushing your knees out, rock for 10 seconds to open up the hips. Then grab onto your toes and straighten your legs without letting go of your toes. You may not be able to straighten your legs fully but this doesn’t matter you will still feel a stretch down the back of your legs.
- 5 press ups- either on toes or knees
- 10 straight leg sit ups
- 5 down ups (chest to floor burpees without the jump) to scale this down even more you can kick your legs out to a top press up position, kick your legs back in to then return to standing.
You should be feeling pretty warm after that. Now you are ready to do your work out!
A cool down- loads of people neglect a cool down, however it is so important! You don’t have to spend ages doing it but 5 minutes after a work-out gently stretching the muscles you have used the most will make you feel good and help you reduce the risk of injuring yourself. For cool downs you stretch statically (standing still and stretching the muscles) spend about 30 seconds on each stretch. If you would like some stretches drop us a message and we will send you some. We also have loads of static stretches on our YouTube channel.
Tip 2– know your limits! It’s tempting to do loads of exercise because we have, all of a sudden loads of time. This could be in the form of putting more weight on the bar/use a heavier dumbbell or kettle bell when our bodies are not used to it, haven’t mastered the form of a specific exercise or lift, or just blatantly doing more than we ever have done. If you aren’t sure whether you are doing something right, feel free to film yourself doing a move and send us your videos, we can then give you some tips and advice.
It’s important to remember we want quality over quantity so if you feel the last couple of reps of an exercise aren’t the prettiest why not scale back the reps and do 5 good ones instead of 10 bad ones. If you are just starting out, exercising 3 times a week with 1-2 rest days in between will ease your body in gently whilst still seeing some satisfying changes, you will also feel the exercises you used to find hard, start to get easier. It might be worth recording your exercise with how many reps and the weight (as an example) so you can then track your progression.
Tip 3– it is important to eat well regardless, however if you have increased your exercise you may want to think about trying to incorporate more protein into your diet to help your body recover after a heavy workout. Many people decide to supplement with protein shakes, however this isn’t a necessity. You can increase your protein intake by eating meats, oily fish such as mackerel, which are packed full of goodness. Or, if you are a vegetarian or vegan you could try eating lots of nuts, beans, pulses, mushroom and tofu.
Tip 4, the last tip– rest days! During this weird time when we have loads of time on our hands, you may want to exercise every day. However, it important to listen to your body and give it the rest it needs. You will feel great after having a rest day when you get back to exercising. Rest days help to avoid injuries as they give your body the time it needs repair. Its also not pleasant trying to push through the crazy DOMS (delayed onset muscle soreness- the soreness in your muscles you get after exercising) that you will have after a good workout. Don’t forget it is still important to keep moving during a rest day so why not go for a nice walk or gentle cycle!
When we get the clinic back open why not come and see us, osteopathic and chiropractic care can be great for avoiding sporting injuries, or if you have an old sports injury you haven’t got to the bottom of and you feel its having an impact on your ability to exercise have a look at how we can help. Click here for a blog on how we can help with sports injuries.
We are here to help you, and advice you. Just hope onto email, or our social media channels and connect with us. Don’t suffer in silence. We want you all up exercising and using this time well, however, we don’t want you hurting yourself.