Along the journey to reaching your fitness goals, it is inevitable that there will be some kind of soreness and injury setbacks. It’s when we push the boundaries and extend ourselves, that it leaves us vulnerable to injury. As disheartening as it seems, prevention is better than cure, but we must learn to read the signs and respect what our body is telling us.
Everyone’s body shape, history, beliefs and past experience is different and it’s, for this reason, each one of us reacts differently to exercise. Some can run day after day without soreness, others feel pain all the way. The only way to know what your limitations are is to develop slowly, increasing the volume from week to week. 10-15% per week is acceptable.
Don’t skimp on the right shoes. I have worn Asics shoes my whole career, and know which ones suit my foot strike. Also learn to be aware of when it is time to replace old for new, like a car tire, look at the tread as this can be a good guide, also to how your foot is striking.
Sometimes we are stuck for time and disregard the importance of warming up properly. Use it as part of your workout, gradually building the intensity and pace. Stretch, 5 minutes in, holding stretches for at least 30 seconds and not bouncing. Stretching should also be completed at the end of a session, with the goal of improving flexibility. Elite athletes treat stretching as gospel, spending up to an hour a day to keep the muscles loose and prone from tightness.
If you feel tired one day, take a break. The only way a body can recover is to rest, it allows the body to repair in readiness for the next level. Just going through the motions won’t achieve anything and could well mean the chance of injury. Try something different or use the time to increase your flexibility with pilates or yoga.
If you seem to always be injured or sore, it could mean there is an underlying weakness in your core and stability. Try resistance training to strengthen the joints, tendons and muscles around the areas of risk. Your physio will be able to recommend the correct exercises on prognosis. Balance the body by having a regular massage, it is amazing how a good masseuse can find tight muscles and maybe save you from potential injury.
Keep your body functioning at its best by feeding it the correct food. Our body is an amazing machine, but it does need to be given a helping hand. Eating carbohydrates straight after a workout for recovery and protein to help repair muscles, mixed with fruit and vegetables for energy will always win over a meat pie and coke!
If you neglect tour body it will catch up with you, so take the time to incorporate maintenance into your schedule. You will thank yourself for it.