By Nick Syrett, Senior Physiotherapist, Doctorcall, St Ann's Square, Manchester

If your January 1st started with great intentions for more exercise this year with some serious goals in the calendar, please consider a rounded, balanced approach. A full on 100mph approach to New Year’s resolutions can often end up in frustration and missed targets. It is an annual trend for me to see people at the end of January/early February with overload injuries. To avoid some of the usual pit falls, please consider this...

Build steadily

Depending on what has gone before it and when you were last exercising, build your base slowly.

If you are running more and aiming for a particular distance, the 10% rule has stood the test of time. Increase your running volume by 10% per week. This will also mean a slow build up to start with. If you’re starting from zero miles, then look up the many couch to 5km apps/programmes and consider joining up with a group who are doing the same.

Fuel it right

If your exercise levels have gone up, you’ll need the right type and right amount of food/energy to sustain it. Balanced meals ticking as many food groups as you can manage will provide the fuel. Getting the quantity right to achieve your goals is a challenge.

Buddy up

It’s much easier to have an exercise buddy when you’re not feeling it during the dark winter months. Commit to a schedule and guilt each other into sticking to it.

Enjoy it

Pick some exercise or styles during your week that are enjoyable or fun. You will struggle to stick at something you don’t enjoy. If running, mix up the distances, paces and surfaces/gradients if possible.

Mix it up

The body craves variety and balance. Different types of movement in different directions is excellent for building all round muscular fitness and protection for the body. If running is your thing, then cross training (or doing something other than running that still gets your heart rate up) varies the normal direction of travel to help the body cope with the extra stresses. A good idea to avoid running on consecutive days.

Chill out time

If your exercising hard and “smashing it” amongst a busy work and maybe family life, your body is on the go ALL of the time. Creating some specific time to zone the brain out via mindfulness/Yoga/relaxation sessions will help to balance the chemicals produced in greater quantities when going full speed. Too much of these aren’t helpful. Offsetting them is good for your physical and mental health. Swapping exercise time for sleep time can be counterproductive. Sleep is important. Structure your week smartly and allow time to recover from hard exercise sessions.

You will need the right amount of flexibility and strength to achieve the best performance and avoid injury. Start slowly and your body will often adjust naturally to some unfamiliar moves. If you are embarking on a BIG challenge you will need to make time to increase all of the other factors mentioned in this article. You can’t really skimp and get away with it. Proper planning and preparation are key.

Good luck with your exercise goals and targets this year!!

Me? I’m aiming to build up my longer fell runs this year with a view to some bigger and bolder races next year…

City Physio at Doctorcall

City Physio at Doctorcall has 2 clinics conveniently situated in Manchester city centre offering appointments from 8am-8pm, Monday to Friday. Sessions can be booked online or email for further information.

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