As we get into the swing of the new year, many people will make a resolution to get fit. But if you go about this the wrong way, it can end in an injury that puts you on the sidelines for weeks or even months.
Exercise is amazing for your body and your mind. It boosts mental wellbeing, helps you to manage pain and over the long-term can protect you against injury.
So how can you get back into a fitness regime without hurting yourself? Here are our top tips to minimise your chance of injury.
Start small – even if you used to be a master!
We know from experience that it’s really tempting to go back to doing what you have done in the past. After all, running that fast, lifting those weights or doing Pilates 5 days a week used to be easy!
But whether you’ve been away from exercise because of injury, pregnancy or just that life got on top of you, this is the most common mistake people make.
Over time, your muscles will become less conditioned. If you go back to your old regime, it may be too stressful on your body and lead to an injury.
So don’t just jump in where you were. Instead, go back to the start. Your body will start to remember if you give it time to warm back up to exercise.
Increase your frequency and intensity with time
This goes hand in hand with the first point. It takes time for the body to get back into the swing of things. So give yourself at least a couple of months to get back to where you were before you stopped.
For example, let’s say you used to run 10km 5 times per week. You’ve just had a break for several months due to a new job that took up your time. To get back into it, you might want to pace yourself by doing:
2km gentle jog x 2 for the first week to assess your fitness
5km gentle jog x 2 for 2 weeks
5km run x 3 for 2 weeks
7.5km run x 3 for 2 weeks
7.5km run x 4 for 2 weeks
10km run x 3 for 2 weeks
If you’re feeling good and have had no injuries or flare-ups, then progress back to your 5 x 10km runs.
As you can see, this progression takes 10-12 weeks to get back to your original program. It may take longer if you’ve been off exercise for a longer period of time or had a significant injury. But it will pay off in the long run if you pace yourself!
Make sure you’re getting good nutrition and plenty of sleep
Exercise recovery starts from the moment you stop exercising. There are a lot of factors that contribute to recovery, but nutrition and sleep are two of the most important. Our bodies use nutrients to heal and grow muscles, and most of this healing takes place as we sleep.
For nutrition, our nutritionist buddy Samantha Gemmell recommends eating plenty of wholefoods for a good mix of protein, vitamins, minerals and antioxidants that support recovery.
When it comes to sleep, Sam says that quality is just as important as quantity. Make sure that your room is completely dark, avoid caffeine after 3pm and minimise your screen time for 30 minutes before bedtime.
Do some gentle stretches after your workout
Exercise is great for your body, but it can lead to muscle tension. Muscle tension can put you at risk of injury. So how do you minimise that risk? One way is to stretch out after a workout.
This doesn’t have to be anything too extensive. If you’ve gone for a run, do some gentle stretching of your legs and hips. If it’s upper body day at the gym, stretch out your shoulders and upper back. 1-2 minutes of stretching after each workout can add up!
Give your body some TLC
Sometimes stretching isn’t enough, and your muscles need a little extra TLC. Many people will get a relaxation massage or remedial massage, but this only addresses one aspect of the muscle tension.
That’s where myotherapy comes in. Myotherapy incorporates massage with other techniques such as dry cupping, needling, trigger point therapy and taping. This combination can be helpful for not only treating exercise-related injury but also preventing it.
Your myotherapist can also assess your muscles and joints to see if any are at significant risk of injury and prescribe exercises to strengthen those areas.
Want to show your body that TLC and reduce your risk of injury? Book in with one of our friendly myotherapists here.
Whether you’re an athlete or a weekend warrior, an injury can set you back when it comes to your exercise goals. How you handle an injury can make a big impact on the recovery process. If you want to speed up your recovery and minimise the risk of injury in the future, this is the guide for you.
What to do immediately after an injury
So you’re reading this right as you’ve hurt yourself. Props to you for Googling the answer!
But on a serious note, it’s good to have the injury assessed by a GP if you suspect a fracture, dislocation or muscle tear. That way, you know right away whether you will need any significant treatment such as surgery or a cast.
In the meantime, start with elevating the injured body part. This helps to reduce fluid retention in the area. It also means you’re not on it, so you’re less likely to keep injuring it!
Rest and elevation are also a good idea for minor injuries such as sprains and twisted ankles. If you have a pre-made support or brace for the injured part, you can pop it on for some stability and compression. If not, you might like to bandage it if compression feels supportive for you.
There is a bit of debate out there about whether heat or ice is best for an injury. Ice is the old-school treatment, and may be useful for reducing pain sensitivity and fluid retention. On the other hand, if there is pain without any swelling, a heat pack or warm bath might help increase blood flow to the area and reduce pain.
Once the swelling has gone down
This is the time when it’s good to see your friendly local myotherapist. We can’t really help if you’ve just done a significant injury such as a break or a muscle tear. But after the first few days, we can put together a treatment plan to get you back to your everyday life ASAP.
Some of the therapies we can offer to help you recover include:
How to support recovery and reduce risk of re-injury
Are you ready to jump back into it after an injury? Here are some tips to maximise recovery and minimise your risk of getting hurt again.
Start slow – I know you want to jump straight back in, but this is a recipe for disaster! When you’ve been injured, your body part often needs time to strengthen and get back to your pre-injury levels. Begin with low impact versions of movement such as yoga and walking, and build up over a period of 4-12 weeks depending on your injury.
Use rest and compression after exercise – if you do find your injured area aching or swelling after exercise, head home to rest and a support or brace. This can minimise the fluid retention and ease any pain you might experience.
If you experience sharp or shooting pain, stop – some aches are common as you get back into movement. But sharp, shooting or severe pain is a sign that something is not ok. Stop whatever you’re doing until your pain has been checked out by a qualified practitioner.
Eat plenty of nutrient-dense foods – even if your rehab program is perfect, your body can’t recover without the good nutrients you need for healing. Eating plenty of fruit, veggies, nuts, seeds, herbs, spices and high-quality is protein is a good start, according to our nutritionist friend Samantha Gemmell.
Work with a myotherapist – a myotherapist can help you with rehab exercises to rebuild strength. But they can also keep you on track with supportive taping and addressing any muscle imbalances.
Are you dealing with an injury? Our myotherapist Emily works with people with sports injuries, particularly muscle tears, joint injuries and rehab. Her goal is to get you back to training, events and everyday life as soon as possible while minimising your risk of re-injury.
To book an appointment with Emily, head to our booking page and select ‘Emily Wells’ as your practitioner.
Anytime Fitness in Ferntree Gully are having a one day sale on Wednesday 21st August, and they've invited us along to talk to you about Myotherapy and how it can help with your training or recovering from an injury.
We'll be there from 5-7pm, and have some Myo vouchers to give away, as well as bringing some of the tools of the trade for you to see. Of course, Perry will be trying his best to get a work out in as well!
If you've been considering joining a gym, I can highly recommend Anytime Fitness. I go there myself and always find the place clean and neat, the staff are friendly and helpful, the personal trainers are happy to help you figure out how to use the equipment and they offer a selection of group classes that are free as part of your membership.
We’re a nation of sports lovers. One in five Aussies regularly participates in competitive sports, and many more engage in non-competitive activities. But with sports comes a risk of injury. The good news is, you can work to prevent injuries before they even happen. Let’s look at how myotherapy can reduce your risk of injury.
Why prevention is better than treatment
You might wonder why it’s smarter to put in the time and effort to prevent injuries, rather than just treating them. Here’s why:
How myotherapy can help prevent sport injuries
Ready to stop injuries before they even happen? Myotherapy is a must-have therapy in your toolkit. Here are just some of the ways that myotherapy can help prevent sport-related injuries:
We explore the balance of your muscles – It’s a little known fact that most of us have imbalances between the muscle groups. This is particularly true in sportspeople, as they train the muscles they need, but often neglect other groups. The problem is, imbalanced muscles leave you more open to injury.
During your myotherapy assessment, we can check your muscles and spot any imbalances early. That way, it’s easy to prescribe exercises and stretches to correct the problem – BEFORE you get injured.
It helps with recovery after an intense training session – nobody likes being super sore after an intense training session. But using bodywork techniques and targeted stretching, myotherapy can help to loosen up tight muscles and mobilise joints. This can increase circulation to the muscles and boost recovery. So your soreness will fade in no time!
We can personalise at-home care to your needs – if you have any old injuries or muscle imbalances that need some extra TLC, myotherapy is there to help. Together, we’ll craft a care program to your needs that might include exercises to stretch and strengthen your muscles, and using self care tools like foam rolling, spiky massage balls or hot/cold therapy.
Taping can help to stabilise muscles and enhance performance – taping isn’t just for looks! It can stabilise muscles that may be at risk of injury. Plus it can help to enhance performance by supporting key muscle groups needed in your sport. So it can give you that real competitive edge for the big events.
Ready to get a tailored plan to keep you fit and ready for your sports? There’s no better time to organise on-going management for your body than today! Be sure to book in your appointment now.
Us Aussies love our sports! Keeping active is an essential part of living a healthy, happy life. But whether you love your extreme sports or just enjoy a spot of golf on the weekend, you have a risk of getting injured.
What injuries can occur during sports?
Pretty much every injury you can imagine can happen, depending on the sport you’re involved in. Every single bone, joint, muscle, ligament and tendon that can be injured WILL be injured by someone at some point!
Some of the more common injuries you might come across include:
Just because your sport is “low impact” doesn’t mean it’s risk-free. Any time we move our bodies, there is a small chance of injury. It’s part of life! But the good news is, injuring yourself doesn’t mean you have to suffer through unnecessary pain.
Myotherapy can help with injury recovery
Because myotherapy is all about ‘muscle therapy’, it is fantastic for helping you recover from an acute injury. Here are some of the ways that it might be able to help with your sports injury:
It can help to drain excess fluid and swelling – when we massage and mobilise an area, it increases the lymphatic drainage from the area. That lymphatic drainage is what can help to pull excess fluid away from an injury, which aids with recovery.
It can loosen the muscles around an injured joint – when we are injured, our muscles can tighten up to protect us from further pain. Unfortunately, that’s not so helpful when it comes to recovery. It can keep a weakened joint out of place, and it can strain other muscles that have to compensate.
Working the muscles with myotherapy techniques will loosen them, allowing the joint and other muscles to return to a neutral position.
Taping can help with swelling, pain and proprioception – it’s great to get some bodywork done. But taping can keep working on the injury days after you’ve left the table. Different taping techniques can be applied to reduce swelling and stabilise the injured area.
The most important thing about sports injuries
If you have injured something, remember this: the quicker you get it seen to, the quicker it will heal. If left untreated, you may end up with a chronic injury. And believe me, chronic pain is not something you want to get familiar with.
Once you’re recovered, you can head on back to your beloved sport! But that’s not where it ends – as we’ll discuss next week, myotherapy can be a great supportive treatment for prevention of injury as well.
Been injured while at your favourite sport? It’s best to get it looked after asap. Book in an appointment today, and we’ll get you back into the swing of things quickly.
Mel is a Myotherapist based in Ferntree Gully.