Have you made any resolutions for the New Year? Maybe they involve getting fitter or losing weight? Or perhaps you’ve signed up for a sport or an event, which you’ve been thinking about doing for a while?


It’s great that so many of us think about improving our fitness once the festive season is over. And for many people, that can begin with something as simple as a new gym membership or a commitment to get outside more often for a healthy walk. But what if you take on goals that are too ambitious or try to get too fit, too fast?


It’s tempting when you’re getting back into exercise – either after a short break like Christmas or a longer time away – to believe you’re capable of more than your fitness allows. Maybe the last time you got on a pitch or in a pool was a few months ago. Did you know that your fitness can deteriorate quite quickly, even with a few short weeks away from exercise?


That’s why it’s important to ease yourself in gently. Now isn’t the time for showing off or for trying to beat the guy, who’s been playing sport year-round and who already has a realistic plan for getting and staying fit. You need to look at your own fitness levels to grow and build safely from there.


In fact, many coaches recommend a benchmark session at the beginning of any season (new year included) to test fitness levels and make firm plans. The good news is, you don’t need a coach to make this happen. One way you can do this for yourself is to play your sport or do your exercise, while staying within 80% of your maximum effort.


As you exercise, keep in mind how your body is feeling and don’t push yourself hard. This way, you can stay safely within your own levels. The key is to accurately and honestly measure what you can comfortably do. Once you know what you’re capable of – how fast and far you can run, how many lengths you can do in the pool, how long you can last on the pitch, for example – you can work out a weekly/monthly/yearly plan that builds on your base level fitness and which will help you to avoid injury and burn-out. A top tip is to ensure your plan builds slowly and gradually.


Of course, it’s good to have big goals and to aim for sports and events that inspire you, so don’t be afraid to reach for the stars, too. Just do it calmly and carefully, considering what you can realistically achieve week-on-week throughout the year to reach where you want to be in 2015 and beyond.


We wish you a happy, healthy and fit new year!


To talk about injury treatment or prevention or to book an appointment, just come in to see Donna Norman from Bespoke Injury Management at Oxford Street Therapy Centre or call 01933 224454 or 07814 396872 for a consultation and booking. You can also

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