Spring has sprung and for many us the resurgence of sunshine has motivated us to dust off the runners, catch up on some weeding, or perhaps join a new exercise class we’ve been contemplating.
This is fantastic and we should all be moving as much as we can!
But did you know, beginning new activities can often bring about associated muscle and joint strains?
- You started out where you left off before you took a break.
- Muscles can lose conditioning within weeks if activity levels drop off. Making the mistake of going straight back to lifting the same weight you had previously mastered is putting your muscles two steps ahead of where you are now.
- You advanced in weight/distance too quickly.
- Muscles, joints and tendons needs time to adapt to new loads to prevent strain.
- You didn’t take into account your current fitness and day to day activities into account.
- Consider whether your job or hobbies are at a high or low loads: sitting or on the go? This can give you some clues about what level is best to start.
What can you do?
- Think of it as a step ladder approach. Graduate the weight/ distance/frequency of your chosen activity in steps and allow your body a couple of weeks at each level to acclimatise.
- For ad hoc activities- consider breaking the task down into segments, allowing rest in between as time permits.
- A warm up. 5-10minutes of cardio and some light stretching to get blood moving and muscles prepped for activity.
There are many factors that contribute to how well our bodies adapt to new activities, whether it is age, lifestyle or current fitness levels. The good news is that there is an appropriate level of exercise waiting for you! Take steady steps and slowly increase the time and effort you are putting in. You’re body will thank you for it!
Of course even when we follow these steps, illness, stress and other factors can still effect our resilience, and that’s where we step in. If you’ve found yourself noticing new niggles and stiffness, our Massage/ Myotherapy and Osteopathy team at Blackburn Allied Health are here to help!