For the dedicated few exercise is something that is a yearlong pursuit, but for the majority of us (I am guilty myself this year) the cold winter months see us hibernate inside where it is warm. As we are nearing the start of spring and (hopefully) some nice weather we start to emerge from our winter hibernation and look to re-enter the exercise world. This is a great thing we should all look to do, but it is important to follow a few simple steps to ensure that your return to or maybe even your first serious attempt at exercise is not merely a spring fling but something that becomes a long-lasting relationship.

Step One – Eliminate those barriers.

Health Barriers:

I see all too often people start an exercise program just to break down within a few weeks because of their “old knee issue” or “dodgy shoulder” or some other unresolved body issue. Getting a proper physical assessment and subsequent tailored exercise advice can help minimise your chances of re-aggravating a pre-existing condition or causing a brand-new issue all together.

Shoes:

Our feet take up to 3 times our body weight through them whilst we run and with an active person usually aiming to do over 10000 steps a day that is a lot of load being put through your feet. Have a look at your current runners: try to bend the toe of the shoe back on the heel, if you can very easily do this it may indicate the middle cushioning of the shoe is worn then check the sole for uneven wearing if you notice these things it may be time for a new pair of shoes. It is best to get a shoe fitted from somewhere that knows what they are talking about. A small investment in our feet will make a huge impact in our ability to exercise comfortably.

Equipment:

This is an easy one, to start exercising you don’t need any equipment at all, there are hundreds of free online workouts and apps all about equipment free exercising. Doing body weight exercises like squats, step ups, push ups, planks etc are all great exercises that don’t require any equipment. The easiest exercise of all is walking/running and we have the best equipment in the world for that right at our doorstep, amazing natural scenery. From walking along the beach from Ocean Grove to Barwon Heads, or riding the rail trail, trail running through the nature reserve we have so many wonderful places to get outside and exercise right at our finger tips. So, no need to rush out and buy the latest “supercharged ab-polveriser-6000”!!

Step Two – Slow is Best

We have all heard the story of the Tortoise and the Hare, well I want you to be the Tortoise!!

A slow build-up of any new exercise program is the safest and most effective way to ensure long term adherence and achieve your best results whilst minimising the risk of injury. Deciding to start exercising by running 10km doing 100 push ups 7 days a week from day 1 will most likely lead to a visit to a health professional to fix whatever part of your body has broken down. Start with a small amount of exercise and build it up over a slow progression, for example if running is your go start with a walk-run-walk progression every second day, slowly increasing the run distance/time, then you can increase the amount of exercise sessions per week as your body acclimatises to the training load.

Step Three – Mix it Up

They Say Variety is the spice of life, well variety is the KEY to exercise. Choosing to do various types of exercises not only challenges your body in a positive way it also can limit the risk of overuse injuries from repetitively training the same body part. Doing gym based weights every day may increase your muscular strength but it won’t drastically improve your cardiovascular fitness so adding in some walking/jogging/cycling/swimming to mix things up gives your body a good change in routine and will help you achieve better results.

Step Four – Get Social

Humans are social creatures, we thrive on human interaction and exercise is no different. Exercise can be daunting to get started with, so finding someone or a group to do it with can be a major help. Exercising with others can:

help maintain your consistent attendance – if you know someone is waiting for you, you are more likely to show up to avoid disappointing them.

It can motivate and encourage you – exercising with others who are achieving results is infectious, they can help push you out of your comfort zone (in a good way) and help encourage you during the tough times, as there will be tough times.

Exercise should be fun – working out with others will likely result in some fun and laughter which is a vital factor in coming back for more. The more we have fun the more likely we are to return to participate again.

At the end of the day exercise is something that should make us feel great in all areas of our life, physically, mentally and socially, so if you follow these few simple steps you should make sure that you not only start, but continue to enjoy exercises for a long time to come (except doing burpees, because they are just evil, ha.)

Mark Laidler is the Owner and Senior Osteopath of Ocean Grove and Leopold Osteopathy and Sports Health. Mark is available for appointments Mon-Fri at Ocean Grove and Mon, Tue, Thurs at Leopold.

Give us a call on 5255 5040 (Ocean Grove) or 4202 0446 (Leopold) or book online at www.ogosh.com.au to let us help you on your journey to achieve your health goals.

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