“PRE-EXERCISE” EXERCISE PROGRAM

We all know how important it is to do regular exercise and it is all too easy to overdo it when taking those first steps back into an exercise program. Here is some information that you might find useful to make a successful transition from the office chair to the gym or playing field.

WHY DO A “PRE-EXERCISE” PROGRAM?

To prepare your mind & body for the job is the short answer. It helps to develop a regular exercise routine without being too tiring & more importantly it helps to develop the strength and flexibility in your body gradually so you are less likely to be injured or fatigued as you increase your level of activity.

WHO SHOULD DO A PRE-EXERCISE PROGRAM?

Anyone who has had a break from regular exercise can benefit from taking a short period of time to prepare their bodies for more a more challenging exercise routine. This process is especially important if you are recovering from a long or serious illness/injury and for those who have not exercised for a long time. Anyone who has faced the frustration of getting started at the gym or riding your bike and fallen in a heap a few weeks later from doing too much too soon can really benefit from this process as well. If you are able, get an exercise buddy so you can keep each other motivated.

WHAT CAN I DO AS APRE-EXERCISE PROGRAM?

Regular walking is a great start and you need no more equipment than a pair of shoes. For the first 2 weeks, aim for a 30 minute walk most days of the week at a pace that leaves you warm but not puffing. If you have been injured or unwell try for two 15 minute walks each day.

Weeks 3 & 4 is the time to increase the intensity by taking longer strides and including uphill and downhill sections in your walk. You should be aiming to be breathing more heavily than normal but still be able to talk to your walking buddy most of the way. Add in some in basic strength exercises such asbody weight squats, light upper body free weight work, planks etc. Try for 2 sets of 10reps/10secs each at end of your walk. Make sure you get instruction if you have no experience with these exercises or don’t know what exercises to do.

The final 2 weeks involve long stride walking at an intensity that you would find it a little hard to have a conversation with your walking buddy (but without heavy huffing and puffing) and maintain this level for 15 to 20 minutes.

An exercise bike or push bike is another great low impact option. Just follow the same principles described above for walking. At the end of this 6 week period is a good time to take up that gym membership or start that exercise class you have been promising yourself.

Resist the temptation to go into your new exercise routine at full pace – a good rule of thumb is to “halve the time, halve the volume”. For example if you have joined the gym to participate in some exercise classes, do half the weight you think you can do, half the number of repetitions and half the time that the rest of the class performs. Slowly increase over a period of 4 weeks.

WHAT TO LOOK OUT FOR AND WHEN TO SEEK HELP?

Niggling injuries that don’t quite get better often knees and ankles, low backs and shoulders. Problems that have always stopped you in the past such as your old football knee or netball ankle can often be troublesome when trying to get more active so come and see us at the clinic for some help to resolve those issues.

by Helen Richards