Happy New Year! As we start off the new year, it's a great time to set some goals and make some positive changes in our lives. One important goal for many of us is to stay healthy and avoid injuries. Injuries can not only be painful and inconvenient, but they can also set us back from reaching our goals and enjoying the activities we love.
As a physiotherapy clinic, we see a wide range of injuries, and we want to help our patients avoid them whenever possible. Here are our top 10 tips for avoiding injuries in the new year:
1: Warm Up
Warm up before physical activity. It's important to properly prepare your body for physical activity to avoid strains and sprains. This means taking a few minutes to stretch and gradually increase your heart rate before starting your workout.
2: Wear proper footwear
Wearing shoes that are appropriate for the activity you're participating in can help reduce your
risk of injury. For example, if you're going for a run, make sure to wear shoes specifically designed for running.
3: Use proper technique
Whether you're lifting weights, playing a sport, or doing any other physical activity, it's important to use proper technique to avoid injuries. If you're unsure of the correct technique, consider seeking guidance from a professional or doing some research online.
4: Take breaks and listen to your body
It's important to give your body a break when it needs it. If you're feeling tired or in pain, take a break and give yourself time to rest and recover.
5: Stay hydrated
Proper hydration is essential for physical performance and can help reduce your risk of injury. Make sure to drink plenty of water throughout the day, especially before, during, and after physical activity.
6: Build a strong foundation
Before jumping into strenuous full-body activities, consider what you can do to ensure you have a strong foundation. This can mean focusing on core exercises to better support your trunk during full-body movements, or focusing on the rotator cuff for upper body exercises or hip strengthening for the lower body. Especially if you have a history of previous injuries in these areas, consider ways you can ensure a solid foundation to best support your muscles and joints.
7: Diversify your activities
If you find yourself focusing on one area exclusively, consider ways that you incorporate a variety of movements and activities into your routine. For example, if you have focused a lot on strength training in the past, try incorporating some mobility work into your routine a couple of times a week. On the other hand, if you’ve previously leaned more towards running or playing sports, think about ways to incorporate a strength training routine that can help build more resilience for your desired sport/activity.
8: Get enough sleep
Adequate sleep is essential for overall health and can help reduce your risk of injury. Make sure to get at least 7-9 hours of sleep each night.
9: Avoid being a “weekend warrior”
Often we try to make up for a more sedentary lifestyle during the work week by cramming a week’s worth of exercise into the weekend, but this is a common way to get injured. Daily physical activity is important for overall health and can help reduce your risk of injury. Aim to be active for at least 30 minutes most days of the week.
10: Recovery is important - but it’s not everything
It's important to challenge yourself, and if you're feeling exhausted or in pain, make sure you’re giving yourself time to recover. But rest doesn’t mean being fully inactive until the pain goes away - instead, make sure you are addressing the underlying problems fully before going back to the activity at the same intensity. If you’re unsure what the problem is, consultation with a physiotherapist can help identify your issues and limitations, to prevent the same injury from coming back over and over again.
We hope these tips will help you stay healthy and avoid injuries in the new year. Remember to listen to your body and seek guidance from a professional if you have any concerns. Happy New Year!
Get back to doing what you love the most.
Kanata / Ottawa residents! Are you dealing with pain or limited range of motion due to an injury or chronic illness?
Schedule an appointment with a licensed physical therapist today!