Everyone is different, so the starting point, aims and goals will vary enormously. The major thing is that you focus on “you” making all targets realistic and achievable for “you”! If you are overweight or have medical problems seek advice prior to starting your regime.

Lack of preparation catches lots of people out. Ensure that you reduce the risk of injury by varying your training and ensuring that you have the correct equipment, clothing and footwear for your activity.

Prepare the body with a gentle warm up of 3-4 minutes of brisk walking/jog/cycle, and some gentle stretches. This will:

  • raise the heart and respiration rate
  • increase circulation and body temperature resulting in muscle groups becoming more flexible
  • encourage the cartilage of the joints to absorb more fluid, enabling them to withstand more forces to be put through them safely

Start your regime with a few minutes of your chosen activity in between your warm up and cool down. As your training progresses gradually increase the time or intensity of your activities. If you find the new level too difficult, are feeling under the weather or have had a break in training, take a step back in your exercise plan and then gradually build it back up again.

A gentle cool down after exercise (3-4 mins brisk walk/gentle jog etc) will help to return the heart and respiration to their normal resting levels. Do some gentle stretches to reduce stiffening up of muscle groups so that you are more comfortable after exercise.

Pain is a warning sign, it is not a case of no gain without pain! If you experience pain during activity, reduce your activity level, if the pain continues, STOP and seek help. Early treatment of any injury will ensure a speedy recovery. Your physiotherapist can advise you how to continue exercising with your injury so that you can safely keep up your fitness level.

Remember, preparation and realistic planning will take you a long way to safely achieving your goals.

How to survive those New Year exercise resolutions
So, you want to get into those jeans, run a marathon, or just get a little fitter in 2008. Don’t let injury stop you in your tracks, reduce the risk by following these simple steps to help you achieve your goal.

10 Top Tips to Surviving Exercise

1. Evaluate your starting point.

Your starting point must be right for you. Remember, the older or less fit you are, the less demanding your exercise regime must be. If you are overweight or have medical problems, seek advice prior to starting a fitness routine to ensure that you get the starting point right.

2. Set your goals.

Be realistic in setting yourself targets. Ensure that your plan varies the type of training or activity so that you don’t spend every session doing the same activity. This will ensure that different muscle groups are exercised. Make sure you plan regular rest days to let your body recover between sessions.

3. Be prepared.

Make sure you eat regularly and healthily, including keeping yourself well hydrated with water. This will ensure that the body will function more efficiently. Remember to avoid eating large meals within a few hours of exercising.

4. Well equipped.

To reduce your risk of injury check that your clothing and equipment are appropriate for your chosen activity. Throw out those ancient worn trainers and ensure that you have some suitable supportive and shock absorbing footwear.

5. Psyche up.

If you have been realistic in your aims, then you will not find your programme an endurance test. Enjoy it, and you will want to do it all the more!

6. Warm up.

3-4 minutes of brisk walk/gentle jog or cycle and stretches will help to increase the heart and respiration rate and prepare your body for activity.

7. Activity.

Starting with only a few minutes, very gradually increase the time or intensity of your training. Make sure you take a step back in your training programme if your new level is proving over ambitious, if you have had a break in training or if you are under the weather.

8. Cool Down.

Finish with 3-4 mins of gentle walk/jog/cycle and stretches to help the body to return to its resting level.

9. Stretching.

Gentle sustained stretches held for 10secs will help the muscles to be more flexible and also help to reduce soreness after activity. Stretching into discomfort will actually cause the muscle to tighten up, so keep it gentle and no bouncing which can cause injury to the muscles by overstretching.

10. Pain.

No gain without pain is just not true here, so don’t put yourself through it! If you feel pain during activity, slow down or reduce the resistance. If your pain continues, STOP and seek help. Early treatment will help you to have a speedy recovery. Injury does not necessarily mean the end to your training, your Physiotherapist can advise what is safe to do during your recovery period.

Following the advice contained within these tips, will help you to have a sporting chance of avoiding early injury and help you to achieve your New Year’s exercise resolutions.