Monday 22 January 2018

Start small to ensure long-term benefits - and enjoy it

Chartered physiotherapist Jennifer Daly
Chartered physiotherapist Jennifer Daly
Eilish O'Regan

Eilish O'Regan

Chartered physiotherapist Jennifer Daly advises:

It's important you start exercising gently and safely, to avoid injury and sustain your exercise resolution right throughout the year.

You don't need to spend a fortune on expensive gym membership or the latest activity tracking gadget. There are plenty of free apps that monitor activity or steps if that's what you favour for motivation.

The best advice for starting back after a period away from exercise is to choose a form of exercise you enjoy and get your friends involved. It is important not to be over-zealous at the beginning.

If you haven't exercised in a long time, start small and build up the duration and intensity gradually. It's tempting in the new year to go out and push yourself to the limit.

Pushing yourself to your limit initially can lead to painful injuries if you don't begin at a suitable level for you. If you are overweight, unfit, suffer from any chronic disease or have not exercised in a long time, it's important to visit your GP prior to starting an exercise programme.

You don't have to go out of your way to exercise; you can increase your physical activity throughout your day, whether it is in your commute, work, leisure time or even household chores.

Walking or cycling to work instead of driving can be an easy method of increasing your activity level. Similarly, you can easily and cheaply exercise in your own home using bottles of water as weights or simply take the dog for a walk or get off the bus a stop or two earlier.

Ultimately, to make a sustainable and healthy habit from your New Year's resolution you need to pick a form of exercise that you enjoy.

Irish Independent

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