Now that the silly season is well and truly over, you’ll probably find your motivation to get out and get fit is at its peak! However, if you go too hard too soon, you might find yourself out of action and at a physio clinic before you even had time to shop for new activewear.
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Phebe Liston, Physiotherapist & Creator of Physio Phebe Chat bot lists 3 things in particular we often see at the physio clinic when someone starts to ramp up their training, but the good news is, they are all easily preventable!
Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness (DOMS)
That dreaded muscle pain you feel the next day or so following an activity is technically known as delayed onset muscle soreness, or “DOMS”. The muscle fibres actually get some micro-tears from doing an exercise they aren’t used to (or haven’t done in a long time) and hence result in pain or soreness. While it often will subside over a couple of days with rest, if you are backing up day after day by pushing through the pain, you aren’t allowing the muscles to recover and you can ultimately cause a higher grade muscle tear, which can then take weeks to recover.
Tendons are the tissue that connect your muscles to bone and play an important role in supporting your joints. They can become strained or torn when overloaded, in particular when you start to do activities which involve weight bearing, such as running, or repetitive actions such as gripping/lifting weights. A tendinopathy is basically a grumpy tendon which can vary from extremely painful and reactive, to a constant dull ache. The most frustrating thing about them is that they can be difficult to manage and sometimes take several months to improve. Areas that commonly experience a tendinopathy include your achilles (heel), knee or elbow.
If you have spent a lot of the winter sitting down, your butt gets lazy. Literally. Your butt muscles, your gluteals (gluts), are important stabilising muscles for your spine and when you are sitting a lot, they can become quite inactive and switch off. So when you then go to start exercising and increase the demand of your legs too quickly without your glutes activating as well as they should, it can lead to you overloading the muscles and joints around your back causing pain.
What you should do
The best approach to minimising all of these is to only increase your training amount by 10% each week. While this may seem frustrating when motivation is high, slow and steady will save you not only pain and suffering but will also save your pocket by not needing to see a physio for treatment.
If you are aware of areas that are weak from past injury or are prone to niggling injuries, you can utilise joint or muscle support products, while you work on strengthening the specific area with some advice from a physio.
A role of a physio that you may not realise is that we can screen your body for potential areas of weakness prior to you starting a new program. So you don’t actually have to be currently injured to see us! We can then show you specific exercises to target your weaker areas so that if you continue to keep increasing your training, your body will be more than equipped to handle it. Using an example that I mentioned above, your glutes can be activated by performing simple exercises such as bridges, before you start your main activity.
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