As lockdown begins to ease and we can socialise again, many people are thinking about how to get in shape ahead of the summer season. For some that might mean more exercise outdoors and for others it means finally giving that gym membership a go. Whatever your fitness plan entails, it is important to ensure you are training properly and avoiding unnecessary niggles that could stop you in your tracks.
British bobsleigh athlete and NuroKor’s strength and conditioning specialist Ben Simons is no stranger to training or indeed injury. With his experience as an athlete and also his background in sports science, Ben has seen many injuries as a result of starting a training or fitness plan without the correct preparation or doing too much too soon.
Here he outlines some of the most common general injuries we see when people return to training or start a new exercise regime, as well as some tips on how to avoid them:
Although there is always the chance you can sustain an injury to any part of your body when doing sport or exercise, Ben lists shin splints, achilles tendon pain, pain at the front of the knee (patellofemoral pain), shoulder injuries, hamstring strains and groin strains as six of the most common injuries people suffer from if they return to training too quickly.
Top 8 tips to avoid injury
Ben suggests there are several things that can be done to try and avoid injury when going back to sport or indeed starting a fitness plan for the first time:
1) Build things up
Build up training slowly. Don’t just jump straight into a full-on session. It is important to warm up and cool down, as well as stretching in-between sessions. Always include mobility work in your warm up, which will increase range of motion and warm up the whole body.
2) Use NuroKor
Bioelectrical therapy can help aid recovery and ensure you are ready for your next training session. Use your NuroKor device after each session to aid recovery and sore muscles. Use the NMS setting on your NuroKor device at a low intensity for 20 minutes daily. Then use the Microcurrent setting while you go about your daily routine away from training sessions.
3) Start a complimentary nutrition plan
Make sure you eat or drink simple carbohydrate and protein within 30 mins of stopping exercise. You should do this in order to replenish muscle glycogen stores and maximise protein synthesis. Focus on easily-digested foods, such as a protein shake and ripe banana. In general, you should be eating a good, balanced and healthy diet which compliments the type of training you are doing.
4) Get enough sleep
Research suggests that athletes who sleep less than 8 hours per night have 1.7 times greater injury risk than those that sleep more than 8 hours – so make sure you get enough sleep!
5) Progressive overload
As a rule of thumb you should start your fitness plan with less intense exercises and low mileage, then build this progressively over the first 6-8 weeks of training. Don’t expect too much too soon, building up your training slowly is the way to reach your fitness goals and avoid injury.
It is a good idea to set yourself manageable and realistic targets, as well as tracking your work outs and progress. Not only will this be motivating, but it will also stop you getting carried away and over train at the start of a new fitness plan.
6) Respect previous injuries
You should identify previous injuries and plan appropriate rehabilitation exercises into your programme, ideally with a physiotherapist. It is worth booking an appointment with a physiotherapist to assess current injuries. They can also take a closer look at your body, conducting a gait analysis or ‘movement screen’, which can help them assess movement patterns and your risk of injury. You could also apply NuroKor NMS at an intense level to weak areas or areas of imbalance, alongside your rehabilitation exercises.
If you haven’t exercised for a while, if you ignore any previous injuries or ongoing niggles, the likelihood of aggravating them is high, which will impact your fitness plan.
7) Change your footwear
The footwear you use for your exercise and work outs is important to help avoid injury. You should change your trainers regularly, usually at the first sign of uneven wear. If you are changing shoe model or make, opt for minimal changes in specifications, such as heel to toe drop (the difference in height between the heel and forefoot in a trainer).
8) Work on your posture
You should pay attention to your posture and how your working day may influence this. If you sit at a desk all day your thoracic spine (the upper part of your spine) is often flexed and your shoulders internally rotated. It is a good idea to open up your thoracic spine with some foam rolling, as well as opening up the chest with some simple stretching. If you have been sitting down all day, you should open your hips before you start your exercise with hip flexor and quadricep stretches. By getting your body ready for moving and exercise, you will help reduce the likelihood of injury.
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