Updated: Jan 13
It is easy to overdo things in the first couple of weeks of a new fitness regime. You are bubbling over with enthusiasm and itching to shift those inches- but it's important to start slowly and listen to your body. You'll need to push yourself to see results, however, don't try to do too much too soon. Spread your workouts throughout the week to allow for rest and recovery between sessions.
LISTEN TO YOUR BODY
Pay attention to any feedback your body gives you. Stop exercising if you experience pain or feel light-headed, and any sharp pain during exercise is a particular sign that something is wrong. If this happens, stop exercising immediately. If you are still experiencing pain 48 hours later, it might be worth seeing a doctor or physio.
Mild soreness and aching muscles are to be expected in the days after your initial workouts. But that's normal; don't let it put you off! Aches should ease during exercise as you become more accustomed to your fitness program.
Warming up prepares your mind and body for exercise, and helps to reduce the risk of injury and the likelihood of sore muscles after your workout.
Start your warm-up with a few minutes of light activity, such as marching and jogging on the spot, to raise your heart rate and boost the flood of blood around your body.
Next, mobilize your joints by doing your regular moves. These moves will help the body's lubricating fluid to better cover the inside of the joints, acting much like oil in a car engine to help them move easily.
Finish the warm-up with stretches for the major muscles of the upper and lower body, holding each for 10 seconds. Stretching lengthens the muscles in preparation for exercise and reduces the chances of pulls or tears.
POSTURE AND TECHNIQUE
Using the correct technique when exercising helps to boost the benefits and reduce the risk of injury. Regardless of the type of activity, there are a number of postural tips to follow:
1. Keep your stomach pulled in and stomach muscles Engaged to support your back
Activating your abs and core creates a protective corset of muscle around your torso, which helps to prevent lower back pain and injury.
2. Straighten, but don't lock, your joints
Locking your joints forcibly (or accidentally if you are hypermobile) increases the risk of a sprain or strain. Smoothly straighten your arms and legs, stopping just short of locking. Keep your knees soft when standing to allow your legs to absorb any downward forces.
3. Land softly on the balls of your feet when running, jumping, or skipping.
A hard landing means the impact isn't efficiently absorbed by your hips, knees & ankles, and can result in an injury. Your landings should be fairly quiet, with the joints of the lower body slightly bent to better absorb the landing forces.
Finish each workout with a few minutes of gentle activity, such as jogging on the spot, gradually reducing the pace to a march, and then a walk. Finish by doing the cooldown stretches and be sure to complement these with any yoga workouts that appeal to you on YouTube. Your cooldown is vital as it is the first stage in the recovery process and will help you to recover and adapt more quickly.
Drink water at regular intervals to prevent dehydration. When exercising, you can easily lose a litre of fluid in sweat each hour. Being even mildly dehydrated will impair your ability to exercise and stay cool, placing extra stress on the body. To prevent dehydration, keep a bottle of water to hand and take sips every 15-20 minutes.