Getting Started: The Right Gear
Many injuries and setbacks occur because people don’t take the time to get themselves well-equipped for their exercise. Make sure you:
- Wear shoes that fit well and are capable of providing the right kind of support for your activity and body type. If you’re a runner or walker, get your feet and gait analyzed, and get the right type of shoe for you—this service is usually provided free by stores that specialize in running shoes.
- Wear appropriate exercise clothing. Fabrics that absorb sweat and remove it from your skin are best; loose-fitting, light weight cotton is also fine. Women should wear supportive sports bras. But no one should EVER wear rubber or plastic suits or belts—these prevent your body from dissipating heat properly and can lead to serious health risks from overheating and dehydration.
- Avoid things like ankle and wrist weights. They can alter your normal movement patterns and increase the risk of injury. If you must add weight to your workout, a weighted vest helps distribute weight more evenly and allows you to move more freely and normally than weights attached to your extremities.
Take care and listen to your body
Injuries are more likely if you ignore your body’s signals of fatigue, discomfort and pain. Suggestions include:
- See your doctor for a full medical check-up before embarking on any new fitness program.
- Cross-train with other sports and exercises to reduce the risk of overtraining.
- Make sure you have at least one recovery day, and preferably two, every week.
- Exercise at an appropriate intensity for your fitness level. It takes time to increase your overall level of fitness. Training too hard or too fast is a common cause of injury.
- Injuries need rest – trying to ‘work through’ the pain will cause more damage to soft muscle tissue and delay healing.
- If you have a pre-existing injury or an area that is prone to injury, consult your doctor or physiotherapist before starting. Rehabilitation exercises may help to strengthen the injured area or you may be advised to strap it prior to exercising to provide support.
How to warm-up
As the name suggests, your warm-up (5–15 minutes) should gradually warm your muscles and body temperature.
- The type of activity done in the warm-up should include major muscle groups that will be used in your sporting activity.
- Your warm-up could begin with a low intensity activity such as brisk walking or jogging.
- Stretching should be performed once the muscles have been warmed, as the stretching of cold muscles is less effective. It is also important to stretch after activity as well to assist recovery.
Why cool down?
- To reduce muscle soreness and stiffness
- In the last 5 minutes, slow down gradually to a light jog or brisk walk.
- Finish off with 5–10 minutes of stretching (emphasise the major muscle groups you have used during your activity).
Drinking lots of water
You can lose around one and a half litres of fluid for every hour of exercise. One of the first symptoms of dehydration is fatigue, which causes a significant drop in sporting performance. It may also make you susceptible to cramps, heat stress and heat stroke. Suggestions include:
- Avoid starting exercise dehydrated. Drink plenty of fluids for several hours prior to exercise.
- If you are well hydrated you should be able to pass a good volume of clear urine in the hour before exercise.
- Drink at least 500ml (2 cups) an hour before exercise.
- Drink at least 150ml every 15 minutes during exercise.
- During exercise take advantage of all breaks in play to drink up.
- After exercise drink liberally to ensure you are fully re-hydrated.
Great website for Exercises, Routines, Recipes etc.. http://www.fullfitness.net/routines/beginner-program