New year, new you! It’s a common refrain come January 1, with many determined to turn over a new leaf and finally get into shape. However, going full throttle when you haven’t exercised in weeks, months or even years, is a sure-fire recipe for pain, injury and throwing in the towel by March.
While we’re all for you crushing your wellness goals this year (!), we want you to do it safely. To help, here are five things you should do before diving into that new year fitness regime, head first.
1. Chat to your GP
If you’re fit and healthy, you are probably a-ok to up the frequency and intensity of your workouts. But if you have a pre-existing condition or haven’t shed a drop of workout-related sweat for a while, talk to your doctor before embarking on anything strenuous. Same goes for any major diet changes – it’s always safer to seek advice first.
2. Get professionally fitted for running shoes
Whether you’re planning on power walking, getting back into goal attack, or doing Couch to 5K, it really is important to have supportive, well-fitting sports shoes. So, bin anything that you last wore when Tony Abbott was PM, resist the urge to shop online, and head to a specialist sports store.
A proper fitting will help address any issues with your arch and pronation, to prevent your ankle from rolling, and ensure sufficient cushioning and support for the intended activity. Spending a little more on quality shoes now will save you buckets of money on rehab in the long run. And more importantly, save you from pain.
3. Shop around for fitness classes
Have you ever signed up for a 12-month gym membership and used it, oh, approximately twice? While busyness or laziness might be to blame, maybe you just aren’t much of a gym bunny. Before committing to a year of yoga or 30-day F45 challenge, maybe try a variety of different class styles and workouts before signing on the dotted line. Apps like Class Pass let you book and try a bunch of different classes at different studios for a monthly fee. Go explore your options.
4. Book a biomechanical assessment
Want to take your sporting prowess to the next level this year? Make an appointment for a Functional Movement Screen (FMS) and Y Balance test at The Alignment Studio. This thorough biomechanical assessment will identify areas of weakness, asymmetries and inefficient movement patterns. Your physio will then assign you a corrective exercise program to reduce the chance of pain and injury, while helping to enhance your performance. Read more about the FMS & Y Balance here.
5. Do a kitchen audit
Look, there’s really not much point working out like a maniac if you’re filling your tank with total junk. Food is – first and foremost – fuel, so make sure you have plenty of muscle-building protein, complex carbs and fresh veg and fruit on hand. Especially pre- and post-workout.
Other than that, cut back on the white carbs, processed packaged foods, sweets and fizzy drinks and you’ll be doing just fine.
Pete Hunt is a highly skilled physiotherapist with nearly three decades of experience working in sports physiotherapy and private practice. The Director of The Alignment Studio, he has a special interest in musculoskeletal and sports injuries, orthopaedic rehabilitation and postural syndrome. With a caring, communicative approach, Pete uses a combination of joint and soft tissue mobilisation and exercise prescription to treat his clients. He’s also passionate about education for injury prevention and lasting results.