The benefits of exercises are well known. We often set goals and resolutions to start an exercise routine, yet many of us lack the discipline and consistency. If you’re determined to kickstart a fitness regime and stick to it, that’s half the battle won. Exercise is a great preventative measure that you can take to protect against diseases, improve your mental health, and aid in getting better quality sleep, among numerous other benefits. It should be part of your lifestyle no matter your age or fitness level. These days there are plenty of fitness centres and online resources that can be adapted to your specific functional level so you can exercise at your own pace, own convenience and comfort, and within your own budget.
Feeling motivated? Let’s take a look at some physiotherapist-approved tips you should keep in mind while beginning your exercise regime:
1. Invest in good quality shoes and sporting equipment
Any form of physical activity requires good quality sporting gear, protective equipment and footwear that is specific to your sports and individual needs. This is an important part of beginning your exercise plan. If you’re regularly walking or running, a cheap pair of sneakers won’t cut it. Investing in a quality pair of sports shoes targeted at your choice of activity will improve performance, comfort and prevent injuries. Many brands make sports specific footwear as well as general everyday shoes with support, so be sure to shop around. Likewise, skip cheap sporting equipment and invest in well-made ones that serve your needs better.
2. Be active in all areas of your life
It’s great that you smash it out at the gym a few times a week. Any form of exercise or movement is better than none at all. However, it takes more than some bursts of activity throughout the week to truly engage in prioritising movement. Keeping active requires a lifestyle overhaul. Continuous movement and activity throughout the day is important for your overall health and wellbeing. The way we work and play these days means whole chunks of time is spent sitting. You should break up this sedentary time to prevent injury such as lower back pain associated with prolonged static postures and lack of weight bearing.
3. Take time to stretch it out
It is important to maintain the correct length-tension relationship between the muscles. Without this, muscles can become tight and shortened, reducing movement efficiency and increasing risk of injury. Physiotherapy clinics in Singapore are seeing an increase in conditions like stiff necks that can occur due to sedentary, prolonged postures like using the computer. Balance exercising and prolonged postures with stretching to combat this. Take 10-20 minutes a day to stretch out some of the different muscle groups, as well as stretch before and after exercise. While it may seem tempting to skip stretching, your body will thank you in the long run for it.
4. Avoid the temptation to look up injuries online
While it’s great to look at fitness resources and exercise programmes online, you should stop at self-diagnosing any pain, discomfort or injury via the web. It can be hard to tell if a source that points out your symptoms and possible diagnoses is credible. Often the results can range anywhere from a straightforward strain to incurable cancer. Each individual experiences pain or injury differently and may be presented with various symptoms. It is impossible to know what’s going on with your body just through a search online. The best option is to consult with a physiotherapist or doctor for proper diagnosis and advice.
5. Don’t put up with pain for an extended period of time before seeing a health practitioner
Pain that lasts more than 2-3 days should be seen by a physiotherapist or doctor as soon as possible. The general rule of thumb here is that the longer you prolong seeking medical advice for your pain, the harder it is to get rid of it. When you start to tolerate pain from exercise as simply a side effect of beginning a workout routine for weeks or months on end, your body will start to move differently to adapt to the pain and will end up using non-optimal movement strategies. Something that appears initially targeted just to that locally affected area will actually change the patterns in your brain, adapting the non-optimal way of movement as the new norm and can even lead to other injuries as a result.
Exercise is a great activity you can do for yourself. Don’t be put off by it if you encounter pain or injuries. Instead, look for treatment and guidance from a professional physiotherapy centre to overcome this hurdle and keep pushing forward with taking the best care of yourself. Physio and Sole has a trusted team of physiotherapists who can help you with motion, function and pain reduction so you can keep up your exercise regime. For queries or appointments, you are welcome to Whatsapp a Physiotherapist at 98997967 or contact us at any of our clinics.