How to increase your fitness – safely

You know that moment when summer’s arrived. When it’s a baking hot day, the sun is shining, you’re unearthing your summer clothes from the back of the wardrobe and everyone seems happier.

Along with getting out the summer clothes, many people start dusting off their trainers. After all, as the weather is dry and the evenings are long, now’s the perfect time to start doing exercise, right?  It is a great time to get fit and healthy, but it’s also a time we see people suffering with injuries from launching themselves into a summer fitness plan to fast after a winter and spring of hibernation.

So how can you get fit outdoors safely?
Take a look at the amount of exercise you currently do. If you’re spending most of the day sat at your desk and then going home, then you need to start slowly.

Warm up
We’ve said it before, but we’ll say it again! Warming up before starting your workout is really important. It gives your body a chance to loosen up and your heart to start pumping before you start to push yourself.

Whilst your warm up will depend on the type of exercise you’re about to do there are some warm ups which can be used by almost anyone.

Dynamic warm up
This is when you move your whole body to warm up several joints at once.  Moves here include:

o    Jog slowly or ride a bike on low resistance for a few minutes

o    Walking lunges

o    Touch your toes and then reach for the sky 8 times

o    Jog slowly throwing your feet back so they touch your bottom.

o    Jog slowly lifting your knees high

o    Legcrossovers (also called cariocas) to help loosen your hips and spine

o    Make big arm circles

The point about these movements is that you want to be moving as much as you can.

Cool down
Once you’ve done your workout the cool down is all about stretching your body to help it return to its normal state and help prevent the release lactic acid, which will reduce how sore you feel the next day.

Stretches you should do include:

Quad stretch
Stand on your left leg. Lift your right foot towards your bottom and hold it with your right hand. Keep your knees together. Hold for 10 seconds and then repeat on the other side.

Calf stretch
Putting one foot in front of the other, lean forward on the front bent leg, and keep the heel of the rear foot on the ground. Hold for 10 seconds.

Inner thigh stretch
Sit on the floor with your knees bent and the soles of your feet together. Holding your feet try to lower your knees to the floor. Hold for 10 seconds.

If you’ve been using your arms a lot then you’ll want to stretch those too.

Pace yourself
If you’re getting back into exercise after a being sedentary for several months, don’t do several days in a row of exercise.  Pace yourself! Enthusiasm is great, injuries are not.

Go out again in a few days time after your body has recovered from its first burst of exercise. That first burst will have come as a shock to your body, so give it time to adapt to your new workout regime. Exercising 2-3 times a week to start with will be plenty and should help you avoid injury.

If you start to feel any niggles or injury then let us know. We’ll be able to tell you what’s happened, and will give you some exercises to help you get better.

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