A top physio on the fitness mistakes to avoid making this winter

Fitness resolutions are all well and good, but as a novice, it can be easy to get carried away. Ultimately, you want to make sure you’re doing more good than harm. We asked physiotherapist Sophie Lane at the Centre for Health and Human Performance (CHHP) for the top mistakes to avoid making this winter.

Too much, too soon

“I often see patients who want to get fit, lose some weight or gain muscle and they take the zero to hero approach, heading straight to the gym or a new class. While there are some great classes and gyms out there, sometimes they may not be suited to your individual needs. To benefit your training, if you are having any niggles, it may be worth checking in with a physio before you take on five new classes per week! Linked with this is that people often take on too much, and as a result give up too quickly or can’t sustain the full training schedule. Instead start slow and manageable, one class per week, walking part way to work on your commute. Then build from there, it’s all about a sustainable routine.”

Rest and Recovery

“Rest, that small four letter word, often ignored. Optimal rest and recovery enables you to come back better every week, month, or training session. However, an issue I see a lot in clinic is overwork and stress. The need to train every day, and push through HIIT class after HIIT class, will take its toll on the body. Firstly, sleep is where we recover. Not getting enough sleep negatively affects mood, immune function, memory and stress levels. 70% of Brits reported that they could function better at work if their sleep improved. Are you getting enough, and is the quality of sleep adequate? Have you ever thought of your sleep hygiene and could it be improved? Do you wake feeling refreshed? Do you feel tired? Are you hydrated? All questions we should be asking ourselves, and if you have any concerns see a specialist.”

Prehab vs. Rehab

“We often wait until it’s too late. We skip those little rehab exercises we have been issued, the five minute stretching routine, those core exercises that seem boring or insignificant at the time. But then it’s too late and those niggles turn into something that results in you not being able to do the activities you love. This year the approach to exercise and medicine needs to be preventative over reactive.”

Keeping on track with your fitness goals

People lose focus or routine, and those new year fitness resolutions disappear as soon as winter turns to spring. Some ideas to stop this: train with a friend and remember training doesn’t have to be throwing weights around in the gym. Find something you love, a walk, a salsa class, gymnastics, swimming, hiking at the weekend. It’s got to be fun, the body loves movement, something we deny it when sitting at desks for long hour working days. So, anything you can do to move and laugh is great.”

Don’t try this at home!

“Those cool fitness videos you see on social media, like standing on a Swiss ball, doing a dumbbell shoulder press, on one leg, with your eyes closed; that you want to re-create or challenge further. My advice…DON’T. All exercises have a purpose, always ask yourself WHY are you performing an exercise, and if you’re unsure ask a professional.”

So there you have it. Remember, it can be easy to get injured, and takes a long time to recover. When in doubt, always ask a pro for help, and don’t skimp on rest days.

By Charlotte

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Charlotte is a London girl through and through. She sweats through spin and puffs through Pilates to justify trying the latest restaurants and devouring copious amounts of sweet potato fries, burrata and bread – preferably on holiday. Her favourite destinations include Italy, the Maldives and anywhere where the sun’s shining and there’s a strong breakfast buffet. She’s obsessed with walking, visiting farmers’ markets and reading. She’s also learning to cook. Wish her (and her husband) luck.

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