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Preventing injuries to muscles, ligaments and joints when doing exercise

Re-starting your fitness regime or sports training in the New Year? Here’s some tips to help avoid sports injuries from the expert Orthopaedic Consultants and Physiotherapy team at The Edinburgh Clinic.

The Christmas period is often one of some degree of excess and indulgence – as Oscar Wilde put it, everything in moderation, including moderation!

As a result, lots of us decide that after Christmas, or perhaps in January as a New Year resolution, we will finally find those long-forgotten running shoes, pump up the tyres on the bike or get that gym membership reactivated, and try to get in shape.

At The Edinburgh Clinic, we heartily endorse such virtuous behaviour – but there is a note of caution to be sounded, especially if regular exercise hasn’t been a regular exercise for you recently.
We know a lot about sports injuries at the Clinic, so here are some dos and don’ts when it comes to getting back to fitness in the winter.

1) Be realistic

It’s great that you want to get out and get active, and you definitely should – but do set realistic goals for yourself. One great way to do this is to first establish the state of your body with one of our Health MOTs – a range of scanning services you can choose from to get a good idea of how ready you are.

2) Take it easy at first

Make a clear plan for your first few days, weeks and months of activity, gradually increasing your targets. Remember that this is about long term and sustained improvement – if you try to do too much too soon you’re more likely to lose confidence and end up abandoning your new fitness plan.

Even worse, you’re more likely to injure yourself by trying to force your body to go that extra mile when it’s not ready yet. Set your limits, stick to them if you can and adjust them if you’re finding it harder than expected. But don’t give up!

3) Get proper nutrition

It’s important to make sure that the extra work you’re going to be undertaking is matched by a solid diet plan. Doing so will make sure your body gets the correct nutrition that it will need when you’re working it harder. It should also help you to avoid giving in to too many of those sweet temptations when you’ve had a hard session of running, cycling or anything else.

Speak to one of our GPs if you’d like expert advice on making sure you’re refuelling correctly.

4) Warm up and stretch properly

It’s winter, it’s cold, the roads and pavements are slippery, and your body is out there doing things it may not be used to – what could possibly go wrong?
It’s so important when you are getting more exercise to make sure that you have prepared your body for what it’s about to do by warming up the muscles and stretching them. It’s not just your muscles which will benefit either – getting this right will also help to reduce the chances of unexpected bone or joint pain, particularly in your knees, feet and ankles and spine.

5) Be aware of any little niggles you may feel and rest them properly

Don’t push through the pain, it’s a recipe for greater injury which could hinder you much more than stopping a session early or staying in one day to recover.

Be sure to rest when you have aches and pains which seem to be made worse by exercise – and if you’re not sure, seek advice from the experts.

6) If you do get hurt, get in touch

Unfortunately, even if you take every care, injuries can and do still happen – and that’s where The Edinburgh Clinic is ready and able to help.

Our Sports Injury services are specially designed to get you out of pain, on the road to recovery and ready for action when your body is ready.

Exercise and vigorous activity are great for your fitness, confidence and overall health and everyone should make the effort to get out there. So use the arrival of a New Year as the inspiration to craft a new you. And let us know if we can help!

Learn more about our sports injury service or contact us directly on 0131 447 2340 to arrange a fast and in-depth initial consultation with one of our Orthopaedic Consultants
Date: 21/12/2018