3 Mistakes to Avoid When Getting Back into Exercise
Spring is here. Isn’t it wonderful? Warm weather is popping up and we’re only three months away from summer. For most of us, this now is the time where we think, okay winter’s finished, we need to get out and start doing some activity because we want to get into shape.
What I want to share with you today, is the three mistakes to avoid making, now that you’re going to get back into activity. There are three very common mistakes that people make, that invariably cause issues or problems, when they’re looking to get better, fitter, healthier, especially in the spring months.
So, why is it important that we avoid these mistakes?
Well, first of all, if we hurt ourselves by making one of these mistakes, what it is invariably going to happen is, we’re going to stop our progress. This means that we’re not going to get fit, we’re not going to get healthy and we’re not going to get the outcomes and reach the goals that we want to do. In many cases this can create a sense of disappointment, disillusionment, frustration, and in some cases sadness.
Secondly, if we don’t avoid these misakes, it just increases the risk of getting injured. And if we get injured we can’t exercise or get outside and therefore we can’t get fit and healthy.
If we do avoid these mistakes, what happens? Well, we can continue our training programme. And we can continue getting stronger and stronger. Healthier and healthier. Fitter and fitter. And we can reach the goals that we’ve set for ourselves at the beginning of spring, so that come summer, we’re feeling and looking at 100%.
We significantly reduce the risk of injury. Nobody wants to be in pain. Nobody wants to get hurt. So, if we avoid the mistakes that I’m going to share with you below, what that will mean is that you won’t get hurt, or at least the risk of injury is going to be significantly lower, so even if you do get hurt, it’s going to be less of an issue and keep you out of the game for less time.
Ultimately, if you’re fulfilling your goals, if you’re getting active, if you’re being active, we know, it’s going to make you feel better. It’s going to help you deal with stress, you’re going to feel better about yourself and you’re going to feel happier. And that’s really what we want. That’s why we get active. That’s why we do exercise. That’s why we do what we want to do, in the space of being healthy, because it makes us feel good.
So what are the three mistakes?
The first one is, people sit there and go, “Alright I’ve got three months to get ready for summer, the weather’s warming up, let’s get straight into it.” And they go from being at the gym, maybe once a week, because it’s cold and wet and not walking at all, to hitting the gym three, four times a week, going for two, three walks a day, or walking everyday. And the reality is, the body hates that. Spikes in activity are really detrimental to our body. In particular tendons. Anytime you spike the load, you’re really increasing the risk of injury. And there’s plenty of evidence that shows that once you spike your activity significantly, in a very short space in time you will hurt yourself.
The second mistake you want to avoid is buying shoes based on what they look like or what your friend has, or what your sister wears.. I know I bang on about footwear but it is really important to understand that if we haven’t done much activity, we’ve likely lost a little bit of strength and condition. This will mean you may need a shoe, at least in the first instance, with a little bit more support because you’re not going to be strong enough. Now that’s not to suggest you can’t build back to a lower profile, less supportive type shoe, moving forward, but it is critically important to ensure that you don’t just buy a shoe based on the colour or a friend’s recommendation but rather you get a good fitting, well functioning shoe, for the activity that you’re wanting to do. By doing that, you’re going to reduce the risk of injury, going to keep yourself training and working towards that goal, which is ultimately where you want to bee.
The third mistake people make is they get into activity and they do the same activity all the time. They start walking the same route, the same path everyday and they go from doing that once a week to everyday. Alternatively we start doing a pump class or another type of activity every day. That is bad news and a really big mistake. Mix it up. The body doesn’t like repetition. It likes slow change and getting different stimulus. By all means walk or run but then mix it up with a gym session, or some cycling, or use a rowing machine. Even look at some floor base Pilates or Yoga. The reality is you want to mix it up, because you will provide different loads to the body, and therefore the body can deal with that, and has a chance to rest one area, while you’re working another area. That’s critically important, especially in the early stages of getting back into activity after a long break, to prevent and reduce the risk of injury.
Now I know a lot of people will go with personal trainers. And there’s people out there saying, “Nah just smash it. Get into it. I’m okay. I’m perfectly fit. I used to do this before, I’ll just get straight back into it and do it again.” That’s not the way to do things. There’s plenty of evidence now that shows, that even two weeks out of activity can cause significant loss of condition.
The Australian Institute of Sport had a look at their own athletes. And what they saw was a spike of injuries in the second and third weeks of January, when athletes came back from Christmas. And what they found was that the change in training, and generally the drop in training over that two week Christmas break, meant that they had lost part of their strength and condition. So when they went straight back into the same activity level they did before Christmas, they got hurt. Now maybe you are an athlete at the AIS, but chances are you’re like me, a bit of a weekend warrior who just wants to get back into some activity. If it’s happening to elite athletes, the same thing is going to happen to you. So, listen to me when I say, you want to gradually build up to activity.
I understand it can be a bit complicated. “What does this mean? You’re saying I’ve gotta do some exercise but not too much exercise.” You can research this stuff. One of my favourite guys on load management is a guy by the name of Tim Gabbett, who puts out some great information. But look, I would suggest, if you’re someone who’s really keen to get back to activity, go and see someone about it. If you’ve done activity before, you kind of have an idea of what to build in, and generally speaking, if not sure, it’s better to go a little slower than a little bit harder.
However, if you are wanting some advice, we can help, but there’s a heap of people who can help. Any good physiotherapist or exercise physiologist will have an understanding of load management and help provide a programme to get you back to the activity you want to do, without hurting yourself. There are good personal trainers out there too that understand this. It’s just a case of doing your research and making sure that you avoid the three mistakes I alluded to earlier. From my end, and from my teams end, we just want to see you doing the activity you want to do staying fit and healthy and reaching those goals. That’s really what we’re about.
I hope you’ve learned a little bit from that. Have a great day. Talk to you soon.