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New Year Resolutions – What Are Yours? – By Sam Downer, Senior Physiotherapist at Physio4Life

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Merry Christmas one and all! Tis the season to be jolly, and over indulge on mulled wine, mince pies and turkey and I for one actively encourage this! For if you can’t go snout down and guzzle food and drink at Christmas, when can you?

As we approach the conclusion of 2014 it is always a time for reflection, a time for thinking about what we have achieved and what we may like to achieve in the future. This ultimately leads to a plethora of New Year resolutions of which some will be stuck to and some will go by the way side fairly swiftly. The top three resolutions for the population in the UK are; exercising more and improving fitness, losing weight and improving diet. Three wonderful life changes that will ultimately lead to better and healthier lifestyles. Well done all of us for being so enthusiastic in trying to improve ourselves. Smashing stuff.

However, this new found enthusiasm must be controlled. Now I don’t wish for one minute to curb such energetic desires, but rather encourage you all to channel this enthusiasm and use it to good effect. By all means get involved with running, cycling, swimming, gymming, or ball room dancing, whatever it is you are interested in, but please remember that regardless of the type of exercise you need to have a graded introduction into it. And no, just because you ran a marathon 4 years ago doesn’t mean you can strap on the 3 year old trainers and bosh out a 10 mile run. It won’t end well for you!

The key is to make sure you allow your body time to recover in between each training session. In very basic terms when you exercise you cause very small amounts of damage to the body i.e. muscles, which when you rest the body recovers and so you build strength etc. If you shock your body by exercise 4 times a week after you haven’t done anything other than the pint bicep curl then the tissues in your body are likely to fail, and result in an injury.

So thinking about a training programme is important to help avoid injury. In the early stages you really need to have a minimum of one rest day in between sessions, but I would recommend not exceeding more than 3 sessions for the first few weeks to allow your body to adjust to the change in activity levels. You could try setting goals, either weight loss, time s targets for that 5k run or cycle or whatever applies to your sport. By setting a goal you can then implement a plan in order to achieve this which keeps you focused and motivated.

My personal new year target is to run a sub 1:50 half marathon. What are yours?


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