Having made a positive decision to get fitter, it’s time to get your training schedule underway! Although we have recently been enjoying milder temperatures, getting out in the winter can be tough and it’s a time when you’re vulnerable to injury, especially if you’ve not done much exercise in the past or have spent some time out of training.
So to get you off to a great start, here are some tips from Chiltern Sports Massage to help you prevent any early niggles or injuries from taking hold:
1. Have an Exercise Plan!
Building up activity at a sensible pace is key to long-term success. Too much, too soon is risky and if your muscles get tired and tight due to sudden high intensity training you become very vulnerable to injury.
2. Warm Up Thoroughly
This can be as simple as wearing the right gear for the right weather conditions, but always remember to incorporate Dynamic Stretching in your warm up. Dynamic stretching, rather than static stretching, is the advisable way to stretch pre-training. An example of a dynamic stretch for the hamstring (the muscle at the back of the thigh) would be to hold on to something, raise one leg and then, keeping the upper body straight, swing the leg through forwards to backwards for a count of 10. Do this for each leg – one at a time of course! More Dynamic stretches can be seen here.
3. Post Activity Stretching
Remember to statically stretch post training. This helps get rid of toxins and muscle waste products that can increase the delayed onset of muscle soreness (DOMS), which can lead to excessive tightness and biomechanical changes that make you susceptible to injury.
4. Don’t ‘Run’ It Off!
If you experience any hint of pain or injury, don’t be tempted to try and ‘run through it’. Conversely, it may also not be appropriate to stop training completely. It may be that by reducing the intensity of the exercise and implement all of the tips above until you can complete your training and be symptom free again.
If you try and run through any injury pain, or you get repeated pain post training, then you could typically make the condition worse. Again, always reduce the intensity of your training and rebuild symptom free. If your symptoms are ongoing, which can include up to 24 hours post training, and you struggle to shake them off then it’s time to seek further advice and assistance.
5. Sports Massage
During your training, you may find a maintenance sports massage helpful, once every month and maybe once every 2 weeks as your training intensifies. Put simply, Sports Massage deals with pain and can help to prevent future injury, and the treatment provides many other benefits which can be found here.
Good luck with getting your winter training regime underway and I hope the tips above will help you to make a smooth and pain free start!