As well as being a great stress buster, exercising outdoors cannot be underestimated when it comes to mental and physical wellbeing!!! Read the steps below to help promote pain and injury free movement with increased activity and improved overall health!
- BASELINES: Find your current fitness (baseline). eg. cycling hard for 30minutes daily and work within your current fitness level.
- GOAL: If motivation is needed, set yourself a goal…perhaps it is to do a 30-minutes activity every other day, or perhaps you are building up to the next marathon? Whatever your aim…set achievable goals along the way to motivate, increase success and avoid injury along the way.
- WARM UP – Before embarking on any physical training activity, make sure you slowly increase your heart rate by doing a good 5-10 minutes of warm up! This could be walking up and down stairs or movements that involve raising your arms above your head as examples.
- JOINT LUBRICATION – by using dynamic stretching (moving your joints within their full range of movement) without exerting overt pressure (as we are not aiming to stretch to lengthen muscles here!) you will activate synovial fluid production within the joints to help lubricate and protect the joints from wear and tear.
- THE 10% RULE: Increase any focused sport or training by no more than 10% each day to avoid injury due to ‘doing too much too soon’! This could be applied to distance, time exercising or intensity/weight use.
- ACTIVE RECOVERY: Vary the activity if you wish to be out for longer periods of time…E.g. cycle your set time for the day, followed by an enjoyable walk, to benefit from active recovery and improved mental health.
- WARM DOWN – Take 5-10 minutes using active recovery to slowly bring your heart rate back down to normal. It will help the muscles recover, prevent DOMs (delayed onset of muscle soreness) and will further prevent injury!
- STRETCH – The warm down is deemed by many to be the best time to stretch to maintain soft-tissue health. Remember…Stretching may be felt but it should not be painful! Stretch each muscle until you feel the point of bind (the end point of the natural range of movement of a given muscle) for the 10-20 seconds, and remember to breath!
- DIAPHRAGMATIC BREATHING – When exercising, stretching and even (especially) when trying to de-stress or relax… work on taking good deep breaths from your stomach. (*Trick* Test this by placing one hand on your chest and one on your stomach…diaphragmatic breathing will cause the hand on the stomach to move…not the one on your chest! The latter uses additional muscles that can fatigue and may result in increased tension in the upper body)
- REST DAYS! – These are essential. Unless you give yourself days in your training schedule to let your body and muscles recover…they simply won’t benefit from the hard work you have put in! Rest days will also help any minor tears and strains to heal and will prevent the onset of more serious injury.
- OVERALL…ENJOY & SMILE! Exercising and training should be FUN! If it isn’t, maybe mix it up a little and try a different form of exercise. If running is too higher impact, try cycling. If weights aren’t your thing, maybe try Pilates, Yoga, dance or aerobic workouts. (NB//Always check with your doctor or medical practioner that there is no known reason you may need to refrain from any given work out style!) For most, body weight is great for toning. Weights are needed for building muscle mass. Aerobic activities are great for calorie burning and building stamina. Whatever your fitness aim, try a few things as they all complement each other in one way or another… and whatever you do, enjoy it!
For further advice or help with physical niggles or ways to reduce emotional stress and tension that may build to anger, feel free to get in touch and ultilise our online wellbeing services currently available at www.targettherapies.co.uk.