Have you set yourself a new fitness goal for 2021? Is it to lose some weight, improve your 5km run time, get a new PB on your deadlift, or is it as simple as going for a walk each day?
Personally, I’ve been trying to get back into fitness again after some time off over the Christmas period. So I know just how hard it can be to get out and exercise on those hot summer nights after being at work all day.
If you’re struggling with knowing where to start, keep reading for the tips and tricks you need to smash your 2021 goals!
How much exercise should you be doing?
- The Australian Physical Activity Guidelines recommend the following for Adults:
Be active on most, preferably all, days every week.
Accumulate 150 to 300 minutes of moderate intensity physical activity, or 75 to 150 minutes of vigorous intensity physical activity (or an equivalent combination of both) each week
Do a form of muscle strengthening activities on at least 2 days each week.
- But most importantly:
Doing any physical activity is better than doing none. If you currently do no physical activity, start by doing some, and gradually build up to the recommended amount.
How to Keep Motivated!
- Set yourself achievable goals. These should be simple and easy to achieve, such as:
Waking up a littler earlier in the morning to make more time for exercise
Eat less sugar before lunchtime
Running an extra 1km per week
- Have a reward for your effort! Is there a new pair of shoes you want but can’t justify the expense? Use them as a reward for a month of healthy choices! 😉
- Get your friends and family involved – It’s a lot easier to be motivated in group settings and it will be great for them as well!
Track your progress! My personal favorite is Strava that lets your record activities like running, cycling or swimming. I find it’s a great way to see my improvements along the way.
- Try joining a group fitness class or even a free event such as Parkrun! Check out our local Mernda Parkrun!
- Parkrun is a free event every Saturday at 8am. It involves running around a 5km course and they even give you a time at the end! This makes it easy to track your fitness progress ☺
Why running is my go-to for fitness
Back in school, I never enjoyed having to do the beep test or even taking part in the school cross country run. But since leaving school running has become my go to for health and fitness. I also find it very therapeutic – allowing me to unwind after a long day.
Here are some of the reasons why I love running:
- It’s social! Get your friends out there with you or head to the Parkrun on a Saturday to meet up with the regulars (or if you’ve got a furry friend who loves to run then that’s another great option!)
- No equipment required. Just lace up, head out the door and you are set to run!
- It’s great for your body! Get that heart pumping and you will soon start to feel the benefits ☺
Common Running Injuries
If you are new to running there are some common conditions you should look out for.
Aches and pains are always an issue when you start exercising more as your body needs time to adapt.
But you don’t want those aches to turn into a serious injury so make sure you keep an eye out for the following:
- Achilles tendonitis: Pain, inflammation and swelling at the back of the calf above the heel
- Patellofemoral Pain: Pain in the knee with exercise, especially climbing stairs or jumping
- Shin Splints: Pain along the shinbone that typically worsens with activity
- Hamstring Strain: Pain and tenderness at the back of your thing with weakness and stiffness
- Stress Fracture: Typically occurring in the foot, heel or lower leg. Pain, swelling and tenderness.
Plantar Fasciitis: Common foot injury that leads to pain in the arch of your foot
What’s the Best Approach?
When it comes to running there is no one size fits all! We all have different body types and fitness levels, so you should do what works for you.
There are some great apps out there like “Couch to 5K” that gives you an 8 week program to build yourself up to a 5km run using Run-Walk cycles to up your endurance.
The best advice I can give for a beginner runner is to just listen to your body. If you are tired and sore, take a day off, otherwise you might place yourself at the highest risk of injury.
Running’s not for you?
That’s okay! It’s not everyone’s cup of tea. Consider trying another form of exercise to get your heart rate up and strengthen those muscles!
- Gym-based programs
- Yoga or Pilates
If you’re struggling with reaching your fitness goals, or if pain is stopping you from getting out and achieving your goals, an osteopath may be able to help assist in managing any injuries, aches, or pains that are stopping you.
Bodywell osteopaths Daniel Allan & Bridget Hammond have a particular interest in running and treating athletes, and Bridget is also in the process of completing her qualification as a running coach.
If you would like to make an appointment, you can book online here: https://www.bodywellhealthcare.com.au/book-online/
Or if you have any questions please call us on (03) 9717 1200 or email [email protected]