Monique Rana - Exercise Injury Prevention Tips for Beginners

Publish Date
Friday, 31 October 2014, 12:00AM
By Monique Rana

Congratulations you’re off the couch and onto the FIT-PATH. There are some tips below that can help with preventing an injury just as you get started. Remember that embarking on a healthy fit lifestyle is not a quick fix, but a long-term lifestyle change.  Your exercise and eating plan should be bringing you closer to optimum health and wellbeing. Viewing our bodies and health should not just be about vanity – but as we age – it needs to be about health and longevity.

  • Be proactive and get a routine Physical - if you have not worked out regularly in the past, or have high blood pressure, are on any heart medication and or have a family history with heart disease, then its best to be proactive and consult with your a Doctor / Healthcare professional who values and practices exercise daily, for a fitness check up: blood tests, blood pressure etc. Your doctor should advise you what limits if any and may suggest the appropriate amount of exercise for you.
  • Ease into it: Generally more often than not, people get ‘gung ho’ and want to achieve maximum fitness within a week! This is definitely not wise, and will be a sure fire way to increase chance of injury and debilitating your motivation levels you may have built up. Instead, be gradual. Each week build on time and intensity. Start off with 20 minutes of moderate exercise. Moderate exercise can equate to walking the dog, walking for pleasure, anything that doesn’t exert the heart rate too much in the beginning.  Click here for more examples of moderate and vigorous exercise guidelines. When in doubt listen to your body’s cues?
  • Warm up before you increase your intensity: Every workout should start with a warm-up and end with a cool down. The warm-up phase helps the body to get ready for exercise, increasing your heart rate and getting muscles and joints ready for exercise.  Walking for 5 minutes after a jog is a great way to cool down allowing the heart rate to return back to normal.  
  • Hydrate and eat properly. Drink plenty of water before, during and after your workout to replenish your body. Exercising on an empty stomach means you lack “fuel” to keep you going. If you eat a light meal about 2 hours prior to beginning your workout, you will avoid discomfort.
  • Invest in the right exercise shoes: Whether you are walking or jogging, cycling, playing tennis, basketball or working out in the gym- it’s best to get the right footwear. If you’re a runner or a walker its best to get your ‘walking or jogging gait’ analyzed. This will give you a clear guide on which shoe is best for you.  Shoe Science footwear store not only have an extensive range of sports footwear, but they will also offer a FREE video gait analysis and shoe selection.
  • Vary your workouts: Many people underestimate the importance of variety when it comes to your workout routine. If you're also going the same speed, walking the same distance, or doing the exact same workout day after day, you're not as likely to grow and see results, as your muscles will adapt to the workload placed on them. After a while, you’ll see no change, which can halt your motivation. Doing the same thing over and over again will increase the chance of RSI – repetitive strain injury, plus your workouts will become mundane. Keep your workout routine fresh with small group exercise classes, different walking or running routes, strength training etc.

When to Stop - Warning Signs?

  • Unusual Fatigue
  • Nausea
  • Dizziness
  • Tightness or pain in the chest
  • Light-headedness
  • Loss of muscle control
  • Severe breathlessness
  • Allergic reactions, e.g., rash or hives
  • Blurring of vision

If you start to experience these problems during high intensity aerobic exercise, it is best to immediately slow down. Allow your heart rate to drop gradually before stopping completely, since an abrupt stop can cause problems with blood circulation and fainting. However, in cases of severe and sudden pain, stop immediately, seek help, and follow up with your doctor.


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