At this time of year when the weather improves and the clocks go forward, we start to think about getting back into our exercise routine. Before any form of exercise, it’s important to prepare your body with a good warm-up, preferably with a combination of exercises which will increase your heart rate and blood circulation to your muscles. By stretching the muscle groups you intend to use, you’re preparing them for actio
n. You can intensify the warm up once the muscles are warm. The ideal length of a warm-up should be 20 -30 minutes, depending on the type of exercise you plan to do and how long it will take.
Injuries can occur through lack of preparation, as much as wear and tear. For example, a meniscus tear is common in football and rugby players and can be caused by sudden movement and stress to the knee. Joggers can suffer from Achilles tendonitis, which affects the Achilles tendon and is caused by the wear and tear of repetitive movement over time.
Whilst it’s impossible to eliminate injury, it is possible to minimise the risk. In 1925 Adi Dassler designed a shoe with spikes to help athletes run faster under the company name Adidas. His brother Rudolph founded Puma and between them they started to develop the trainer market by understanding that what we wear can affect our performance. There have been massive technological developments since then, not least by Nike in the 197
0’s, the result of which means that training shoes today are like shock absorbers, designed according to the stress and strains of the sport that you play, so it’s important to invest in the right pair for your sport.
Training clothes have also changed dramatically. In 1962 Spandex (anagram of “expands) was launched in the US. Known as Lycra in the UK, it revolutionised sports clothing, light yet strong, giving freedom of movement, making it ideal for sports such as cycling, athletics, swimming and aerobics. The cool down after is just as important as the warm up, using relevant stretches to help your muscles recover faster.
If you do get injured, be sure to get medical help as soon as possible. It may be nothing, however long term muscularskeletal damage can be caused if diagnosis is not done and recovery and repair are delayed, or even worse, become impossible.
Above all, take care of yourself, look after your body and your mind and enjoy training!