FEELING GREAT: Vary your type of exercise in order to avoid getting injured

Did you know that the secret to getting fit is to steadily and progressively increase your exercise plan?

Wednesday, 25th August 2021, 12:00 am
if you spend hour after hour in the saddle of your bicycle, and you haven’t prepared by doing lower back strengthening exercises, then you should expect to suffer back pain.

And the secret to staying fit is to vary that exercise plan as much as possible? Yet the common mistake that people tend to make (which can lead to injury), is to constantly pound the same path night after night when walking or running.

Here’s an example. Let’s say you’re in training for the Great North Run (and there’s not long until you are on the start line in Newcastle on September 12!), and jog or run on the same hard surfaces night after night, week after week, steadily increasing your distance each time. Do that and there’s a good chance you will suffer from common injuries such as Achilles tendon problems or shin splints, even though you think you’re doing your health some good by doing it. And by the way, you will be helping your heart and lungs, just not your joints or muscles.

Likewise, if you spend hour after hour in the saddle of your bicycle, and you haven’t prepared by doing lower back strengthening exercises, then you should expect to suffer back pain. Why? Because if your lower back isn’t strong enough to support you as you pedal and climb hills from time to time, then it will be stressed too much and eventually you’ll pay the price with pain and/or stiffness. Even swimmers need to vary their training, or shoulder aches and pains are inevitable.

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It’s not possible to get into a swimming pool for an hour every day and use the same arm motion to propel you through the water without getting some kind of shoulder problem. Swimming is fine, just change the stroke you do.

My advice is to always vary your type of exercise. As you’ve just read how to avoid swimming injuries, it’s possible to change an activity within an activity, and it will help you keep active and healthy.

Perhaps you could spend a little time putting together a plan that will work multiple muscle groups, improve balance, increase core muscle control (around your back), still improve cardio-vascular fitness (heart and lungs) and, just as importantly, give vital joints a break.

Get this right and your chances of suffering from physical injury will reduce hugely. And that would be nice, right?

For more tips and advice, please get in touch for a FREE copy of my book The Healthy Habit. It is essential reading people aged 50+ in the North-East, and for anyone that would like to improve their own healthy habits. Please call 01429 866771 or visit paulgoughphysio.com.