Chris Purvey is a leading Musculoskeletal Physiotherapist who is trained in Sports & Exercise Medicine & has worked as an Extended Scope MSK Physiotherapist for 10 years. Luckily for us, he is also a clinician at Living Room Health. In the following interview, find out how to safely return to sports in the New Year.
What are some issues people face with returning to sports in the New Year?
Although it depends on their lifestyle, the biggest problem that we see with general musculoskeletal disorders in the New Year is when people stay static for long periods and then become very active. This is true for a lot of people that don’t do very much from Monday to Friday and then they try and run out on a cold Saturday morning, especially if they are a little bit older. We call them weekend warriors.
How can people prevent injuries, but still maintain an active, healthy lifestyle in the New Year?
Regardless of your preferred method of exercise, it is important to ease yourself into it in the New Year. Going from little or no exercise to a lot very suddenly can increase injury rates, so it is important to ramp up your activity level slowly. Doing a good warm-up beforehand helps too as it increases your core body temperature. Things like ‘Couch to 5K’ can be helpful too as they give you an actual plan to get back into it. There are a lot of good online tools that very slowly increase the intensity of your exercise. It would start walk-run, walk-run rather than straight into a 10K. For active people, there’s some evidence that strengthening your joints a couple of times a week helps protect you against pain and helps you function.
What type of exercise can people do to strengthen their joints?
It can be anything and depends on the type of exercise you do. It might be some lunges or squats, those sorts of things. For those who are a little bit older and their function is quite inhibited, simple exercises like sit-to-stands in a chair or balance training are great. If you have someone whose mobility is significantly declining these exercises have all got gold standard evidence in terms of reducing falls. Depending on pain levels, non-weight-bearing exercises like swimming and cycling can be really helpful, especially for people with some type of arthritis. It’s getting people to do them that’s the tricky bit.
If you are suffering from joint pain this New Year, you can speak to one of our consultants by completing our contact form.