How to return to, or take up exercise safely | Chadstone Region Osteopathy

How to return to, or take up exercise safely

Been a while since you hit the gym?

You’re not alone! Melbourne winters are really not conducive to a feeling of motivation to move.

Now that the weather is improving, it’s easier to get out for a walk – the sun is shining, we’re not battling against rain and gale force winds. With the arrival of spring, often comes a burst of energy – so make the most of it!

Pacing, pacing, pacing.

Haven’t moved in months? Then it’s not always sensible to go like a bull at a gate and attempt a 5km run in under 20 minutes. Understand where your baseline is. Have you been a runner in the past, or have you preferred a meandering bushwalk?

Unfamiliar exercise requires our body to adapt, which takes time and practice. Our cardiovascular system (heart and lungs) need to learn how to efficiently suck the requisite amount of oxygen in to meet the demands of the activity you’re undertaking. Our muscles need to build strength in the areas you’re loading up and asking to move. The amazing thing is that our bodies can learn these skills relatively quickly, but require repeated exposure in order to do so.

In other words – start small, build up and do it regularly! If you’d like to run, don’t just start with a 10km sprint once a week. Start with an alternating run/walk of 2km, 3 x week. This can be increased to 3km 3 x week, then 5km 2 x week and so on so forth.

If you’d like to lift heavy weights, don’t start with a 50kg deadlift! Learn the technique, start on low weights and increase repetitions after which you can eventually increase your weights.

If you’d like to discuss your own individual circumstances and goals, speak to our Osteopaths for a specific exercise plan!

Recovery is as important as exercise.

When you’re reminding your body where your muscles are, it’s likely that you’ll end up a little bit sore the day after a long walk or sweaty gym session. This is often referred to as DOMS (delayed onset muscle soreness) and is not anything to be too concerned about – it’s a sign that you’ve used your body in a way that has challenged it. Remember – exposure and challenge = adaptation and change. In other words, you’re teaching your body to adapt to what you’re asking it to do, and it’s becoming stronger as a result!

When strengthening muscle, rest, recovery and sleep are all factors which help along the process. Constantly flogging a dead horse (or fatigued human!) can lead to muscle overload, where you’re asking too much of your body and muscles respond by negatively adapting (becoming injured) rather than by positively adapting (becoming stronger).

So, if you’re significantly picking up the pace of an exercise routine, give yourself intermittent rest days. You’ll see positive results sooner, reduce the risk of injury and feel much better for it.

if you are feeling a bit ginger the day after exercise, try some gentle stretching, a warm bath, a slow stroll (yes, even though exercise caused this, gentle movement can assist in alleviating it!) or a heat pack.

Injuries happen – and that’s ok!

It’s unrealistic to expect to feel amazing the day, week or month after you begin an exercise routine. You might accidentally overstretch something, or twist an ankle, or drop a weight on your foot or develop inflamed feet/knees/hips. That’s ok! We’re here to help with any exercise induced niggles that arise. You’re taking the time to train your body into being healthier, your body is becoming more resilient and strong, your heart and lungs are pumping more efficiently. You’re increasing your life expectancy!

Small niggles happen to everyone – weekend warriors and elite sportspeople alike. The key is to get good advice early – if you’re sore and not improving, speak to Shaun or Ainslie because they can give you sensible advice on how to complete your exercises differently, stretches or rehab exercises to help, movement advice, pacing advice, programming advice – they really are here to help, and absolutely won’t tell you to stop! Most niggles and injuries are minor and will not put a dent in your training routine – Osteopaths Shaun and Ainslie know exactly how to work around injuries to keep you active, and how to treat and rehab them so that they resolve in a timely fashion.

If you’re thinking of taking up an exercise routine or returning to sport – good on you! It’s one of the best things you can do for your health, and it’s often free! The weather in Melbourne now that spring has hit can also offer you some great benefits in the form of increased endorphins and Vitamin D – so get out there!

If you have any questions, we’re more than happy to help – contact us on 90880793 or for a chat or appointment.