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4 ways to reduce your risk of injury

By Kris Baldock

It's that time of year again, whether you've started a new year fitness regime or are planning to hit the slopes for that ski holiday, a sudden change in physical activity can lead to injury.  A large number of people embark on a new exercise regime, and others increase their activity levels or intensity of an already established routine. As with any new activity or increase in training, there  is an increased amount of load being put through your tissues and this can lead to a higher risk of injury.

As prevention is better than cure, could you try incorporating some of the points below  which will help reduce your risk of injury.

1. Always include a warm up. Follow a specific warm up that recreates the movements of the exercise your are about to perform, once warm your muscles have a greater tolerance to loading and increased elasticity. This is what we call a dynamic warm up and is very different from the type of static stretching that many of you may be used to. Static stretching has been shown to have no effect on preventing injuries and in some studies has been shown to reduce your muscle ability to produce force, not something you want to do before a workout.

2. If your new to exercise, gradually increase your activity level. Recent research suggests an increase risk of injury is brought about by not only an increase of training load, but also too little training load. This therefore suggests that a sharp increase or excessive variation in training load may increase the risk of injury. Gradually increase and maintain your activity level and if you have time off for illness or injury, do not return to your
previous activity level too quickly. 

If you are used to exercise, don't increase your training by more than 10% per week. This could be an increase in the length of time you are exercising, the intensity of your workout or an increase in the weight you are lifting.


3. Take a rest day. Research has shown that if you load tissues above your current tissue capacity everyday, this can lead to a breakdown of collagen tissue. Collagen makes up a large part of our muscles, tendons and ligaments. We need periods of rest to allow our bodies to regenerate and repair. Loading your tissues everyday without rest over time can lead to weakness and structural changes in these tissues, and they can't cope with the demand of load and this can lead to pain.

4. Mix up your training. This changes the type of loading through your tissues.For runners this could be a change in footwear, running pace or mixing road running with trail running.  Doing some form of cross training (different type of exercise) e.g. cycling, swimming or gym based exercise can allow you to strengthen different muscle groups whilst helping you maintain your cardiovascular fitness.

5 easy tips to help reduce your Back Pain

“Is your back pain taking over your life, does it stop you enjoying an active outdoor lifestyle or prevent you from playing with your kids/grandkids? If this sounds like you or a friend or loved one you know you need to keep reading”.


1.Avoid bedrest, stay in work and gradually resume normal activities

Prolonged rest and avoidance of activity for people with low back pain actually leads to higher levels of pain, greater disability, poorer recovery and longer absence from work. In the first few days of a new episode of low back pain, avoiding aggravating activities may help to relieve pain. However, staying as active as possible and returning to all usual activities gradually is actually important in aiding recovery. While it is normal to move differently and more slowly in the first few days of having back pain, this can be unhealthy if continued in the long-term.

2.You should not fear bending or lifting 

Bending and lifting are often portrayed as causes of back pain and while an injury can occur if something is picked up in an awkward or unaccustomed way, it’s most likely to just be a sprain or strain.

3.Exercise and activity reduce and prevent back pain

Exercise is shown to be very helpful for tackling back pain and is also the most effective strategy to prevent future episodes.Start slowly and build up both the amount and intensity of what you do and don’t worry if it’s sore to begin with – you won’t be damaging your spine.

4.Painkillers will not speed up your recovery 

There is no strong evidence on the benefits of painkillers and they do not speed up recovery.They should only be used in conjunction with other measures, such as exercise, and even then just as a short-term option as they can have side effects.

5.Get good quality sleep

The importance of sleep in tackling back pain has become increasingly clear in recent years. This is because it reduces stress and improves your overall feeling of wellbeing, making you less susceptible to the triggers of pain in the first instance and helping you to cope when it does occur.

Need more help with your back problem? Why not request our free back pain report (worth £40).

Our 10 page report is packed full of more information that will help you get back to living an active outdoor lifestyle without having to rely on painkillers or having to bother your GP.


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