The phone started to ring on Monday morning this week with the first of the victims of a common New Years resolution – “I WILL get fitter”.
“Hello, is that the osteopath?”
“Yes, how can I help?”
“Well, its probably just a pulled muscle, but can I come in and see you because I’ve been at the gym all weekend and now my back/leg/shoulder/knee/ankle/neck… (etc) has begun to ache”
Familiar to anyone out there?
Basically, the combination of media inspired guilt, over indulgence at Christmas and New Year blues tends to cause a panicked rush to the nearest gym, and a feverish assault upon every machine and workout session available.
Let’s draw a comparison for you, imagine that you are currently driving a nice old Ford Sierra, you know a real good car of its day, one which does a fine job of getting you, the kids and assorted luggage from where you are to where you want to be without too much hassle. Sure, the sills are getting a bit rusty, and occasionally its a real bugger to start, especially on a cold day but it does a job, with a little TLC. Now imagine that you have just entered it into this years F1 competition, with big demands being made on every component to operate at 100% efficiency all the time. Where the margins of error are zero and any failure is catastrophic.
I know you can see where I’m going with this. You’re not that dumb.
So why do the same to your body? It (and indeed you) have been working on a typical daily routine of;
– Get up, feel a little creaky & stiff but a hot shower soon sorts you out
– Sit for 1/2 hour over breakfast and the paper
– Sit in the car and drive an hour to work
– Sit at your desk for 4 hours with occasional trips to the coffee machine
– Sit over lunch for an hour
– Sit at your desk or in a meeting room for four hours
– Sit in the car for the hour and a half drive home in traffic
– Sit on the settee for a well earned beer/glass of wine and your dinner
And you decide to change this overnight to;
– Get up, half hour stretches and sit ups in the bathroom
– Half hour jog and sprint mixes across park
– Day at work as before, although now have regular trips to water fountain and very light lunch with fruit and salad
– Drive to gym
– Hour work out with free weights
– Half hour spin class
– 5,000 Km on running machine
– Protein shake and fruit dinner in health spa bar
– Shower & home
Wonder why you only last for two days before something goes ‘pop’?
I applaud anyones efforts to look after themselves, but please let yourself into it gently. Start with a walk to the shops to get the paper and maybe a gentle after work swim and then over the course of two weeks build up to getting into the gym. Work with a qualified trainer (all gyms have them) to design a program specifically for you, and get them to check this after a week and then every two weeks to keep it relevant. Above all, if it starts to hurt then stop. Don’t ever think that you can run off an injury, all that will happen is that it will get worse, then become a barrier to your fitness.
Enjoy the energy of your commitment to fitness, but make you activity relevant to you. Get healthy your way, stay healthy your way.