'Get fit' new years resolution

SAFETY precautions should play a part in any New Year “get fit” resolutions to avoid injury.

With only a couple of days to go until the start of 2010 many people will resolve to up their exercise routines.

Sports Medicine Australia's Dr David Bolzonello said during January many enthusiasts start new exercise regimes to get fit and lose weight gained over the festive season.

However, without taking suitable safety precautions before starting activities, injuries can occur – postponing any fitness benefits which may have been possible.

Each year one in 17 Australians is sidelined as result of a sports injury, making injuries one of the major barriers to participation in further sport.

Dr Bolzonello says this need not be the case, as up to half of all sporting injuries are able to be prevented.

“At the start of every year, many people dive into their New Year's resolution of physical activity without good preparation and suffer injuries that restrict their steady progress toward their fitness goal,” he said.

“The risk of injuries should not deter people's enthusiasm and motivation to get fit and healthy and particpate.

“All they need to remember is to undertake some simple measures before, during and after physical activity.

“This preparation should reduce the likelihood of getting injured and increase the chances of a happily fulfilled New Year resolution to get fit.”

To assist in achieving an injury-free New Year resolution, Smartplay, Sports Medicine Australia's sports injury prevention program, offers the following timely advice:

  • Avoid doing too much too soon.
  • Start at a level and pace you're comfortable with.
  • Gradually increase your workload over a series of sessions.
  • Always warm up and cool down when undertaking activity.
  • Warming up prepares you both mentally and physically for performance and decreases your risk of being injured.
  • To warm up, simply start your chosen activity at a slower pace.
  • Also remember to cool down by slowing up and stretching after activity sessions to help reduce muscle soreness and stiffness.
  • Take care when exercising in hot conditions, which are common in January.
  • During activity, try to rest in the shade whenever possible and protect yourself by wearing light clothing, sunscreen, sunglasses and a hat.
  • Always drink fluids (water or a sports drink) before, during and after activity.
  • Drink at least 2 cups (500ml) an hour before exercise, 150ml every 15 minutes during exercise and enough to fully re-hydrate yourself after exercise.
  • Wear protective equipment such as helmets, padding and/or mouthguards, where required.
  • Good quality footwear is also a must as a number of studies have found a relationship between the type of footwear worn and the incidence of injuries to the lower limb.
  • Know what to do if an injury occurs, especially if you have suffered an injury in the last 12 months.
  • Injury statistics have found previous injury increases the risk of further injury by 57 per cent.
  • Use RICER – Rest, Ice, Compression, Elevation and Referral.

“People should also remember that if they're ever in doubt they should consult their health professional for advice,” said Dr Bolzonello.

Gympie Times

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