Tips from the Osteopath before you start your fitness regime.

The Christmas ‘guilt trip’ has kicked in, gyms have ‘ramped’ up their advertising and the 1000 steps are being inundated.

As Osteopaths, we are seeing the negative side of exercise when people take on too much, too early.

Unfortunately, it is human nature that once we decide it’s time to change, it needs to happen overnight. I am writing this article to hopefully convince a few of you to set a long-term exercise plan and ease your way into it.

Exercise has so many proven health benefits but unfortunately, it can also exploit your lack of joint range of motion and muscular flexibility, resulting in injury. As Osteopaths we regularly see shin, knee, hip and low back complaints because patients are undertaking an exercise regime that is beyond what their body can handle.

My advice to anyone looking at losing weight, is to do it slowly and look at a lifestyle change not a quick diet. Exercise is very important to de-stress and burn kilojoules, but if you get injured you are more likely to end up more frustrated and put on further weight.

Begin with a low-grade exercise such as walking or water aerobics regularly for 30 – 60 minutes whilst changing some obvious dietary issues, for example, reducing alcohol intake and eating smaller meals. Combine this with increasing your flexibility by stretching and perhaps even yoga.

As your weight reduces, your flexibility improves and your energy levels increase, you can then consider raising the intensity but remembering this is a long-term exercise regime so only increase if you really want to and you know you will ‘stick to it’.

My theory on exercise is the more you enjoy it and the longer you undertake it, then the less reliant you are on the ‘fridge and pantry to deal with your stress.

My final tips with a new exercise regime, are to ensure you have the correct footwear and you always stretch after exercise.