New Years Resolutions Exercise Tips & Cautions
Jenny Branigan, Chartered Physiotherapist at Total Physio, now in Stillorgan and Rathmines, also has tips for avoiding injury during the New Year’s resolution period:
A vital part of getting fit is realising the body’s limitations and planning to get beyond them. You plan and set goals and look for results. But what about the important structures of our bodies, such as joints and soft tissues, that can break down in this quest for fitness? We run to get fit. But are we fit to run? This vital yet common oversight can result in painful injury, frustration and sometimes an early end to a flourishing running career.
Back to basics - quadriceps flexibility
We all know how to stretch the quads but how many actually do it?Quadriceps flexibility is vital for any walking or running based activity.
Part of the quadriceps muscle crosses the hip and knee joints, so it has the potential to cause problems in two joints if it gets tight.For that extra bit of suppleness, try massaging your own quadriceps, 2-3 times per week, using your forearm and elbow for that extra physio depth!Or invest in a foam roller to do it for you – make sure to roll from hip to knee!
Work / life Balance? How about just balance?
When we run, one foot has to land on the surface, take the body’s weight, stabilise the leg as it transfers the body weight to the other foot to push forward. In a marathon this happens on average of 41,000 times between both feet.With poor balance, your foot may wobble as it lands and stress the supporting soft tissue structures as it attempts to maintain stability. In isolation this wobble may seem minimal. But if it happens each time the foot has to bear the bodyweight and propel the body forward, very soon you are building up a lot of stress to be taken by structures not designed to withstand such pressure.If you ever sprained or broke your ankle and you regard it as your “weak ankle”, this is an injury waiting to happen. Test it - can you stand on one foot for 30 seconds without holding on or falling over? Then repeat with the eyes closed for 30 seconds.
Glut strength / buttock strength:
Your buttocks need to be strong enough to support your pelvis when you are on one foot. Test it! Try the clam - lie on your side. This needs to be tested with any lower limb injury, so make sure your Chartered Physio looks at this area, even if you have a calf or ankle problem.