Take it easy when starting a New Year exercise regime

DUBAI // It is early January but already health clinics have reported an influx of people injured after embarking on overzealous New Year keep-fit resolutions. Many physiotherapists in Dubai have seen about 10 to 15 per cent more patients as people take on new fitness regimes or return to working out after a long break. […]

DUBAI // It is early January but already health clinics have reported an influx of people injured after embarking on overzealous New Year keep-fit resolutions.

Many physiotherapists in Dubai have seen about 10 to 15 per cent more patients as people take on new fitness regimes or return to working out after a long break.

Dr Janine McKay, a sports chiropractor at Diversified Integrated Sports Clinic in Dubai Healthcare City, said the New Year casualties were making themselves known. “We always get a big rush of potentially preventable injuries from January to March,” she said.

With overeating and a lack of exercise common during the festive season, many people opt to join a gym or increase their physical activity to get back in shape as part of their resolutions. The numbers are also increased by the many discounts gyms now offer to new members.

“It is important to recognise that if you are training for the first time or returning to training after a period away that you do so gradually. Being enthusiastic and motivated to train is fantastic and is always encouraged but be sure to direct that enthusiasm into smart training practices,” Dr McKay said.

“The most common injuries are lower back and neck pain, knee injuries and shoulder injuries. On review, a lot of these injuries could potentially have been prevented through progressive training practices.”

Patrik Hedqvist, a physiotherapist at Scandinavian Health and Performance, in Jumeirah Lakes Towers, said the new year rush had one major cause.

“The most important factor in this context is that people are overambitious in that they want to reach their goals too fast,” he said.

“They simply want too much too soon. Motivation is, of course, a good thing, but one has to realise that the body’s tissues take time to acclimatise to increasing load or volume. This is where a good coach can guide the client in understanding that their goals must be achievable and set within a reasonable time, understanding the importance of slow progression.”

Dr Kate Jordan, a sports and family medicine specialist at Up and Running in Dubai, said the most common complaint the clinic was seeing from those new to exercise is overuse injuries, with a high number of people reporting knee pain.

“Using tendons a lot can be as detrimental to the body as not using them enough, unless you build up gradually,” she said. “At this time of year people throw themselves into new regimes so muscles and tendons are playing catch-up.”

It has been a mix of men and women, mostly in their 30s and 40s at the clinic, she said. “That tends to be the group of people that pick up these resolutions to make lifestyle changes, which is fabulous and we encourage it, it’s just about not going crazy.”

Runners, for example, must combine running with strength training to support the pressure they are putting their bodies through, Dr Jordan said.

Lii Schacht, a naprapath, which is a combination of physiotherapy and chiropractics, said: “Impatience is one error but, also, patients usually think that they are at the same level as when they stopped training, and think they can start at that same point. That’s when they hurt themselves and injuries are prone to occur.”

mswan@thenational.ae

Source: uae news

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