People who are just taking up a sport and haven’t exercised for some time have no idea what training involves. Their enthusiasm can outweigh their ability and they forget that their muscles, joints and tendons have been inactive for a while and must be gradually introduced to new sports routines. As a result, it is important to undergo a check-up by a doctor or a specialist if you have any doubts about your body’s aptitude for sport.
In general, we can offer a few recommendations:
- Wear suitable sports clothing and use the appropriate equipment.
- Make sure that you have eaten and drunk enough before you exercise. Eat and drink at least 2-3 hours before you set off. It is best to ensure this meal is rich in carbohydrates.
- Be aware of the surface, if you are running or walking. A hard surface will put greater pressure on the joints.
- Listen to your body and try not to do too much in one go. It is really important to build up your basic fitness particularly when you’ve not exercised for a while.
- You should feel like you’re making an effort but this shouldn’t result in pain or severe discomfort.
- Always follow a training programme that is suited to your specific fitness level and aims.
- Good warm-up and cool-down (including stretching) is very important.
- Give your body sufficient time to recuperate after training. When you’re just starting out, leave 36 to 48 hours between activity and make sure you get enough sleep.
- Don’t ignore pain. Pain is a natural response by the body to warn you that something is wrong. The body may be struggling to process the activity and is asking for attention via muscle pain. A few days’ rest will probably do the trick. If you do suffer a sports injury, just start again once you’re back to full health.