We caught up with Urban physiotherapy pro Harvey to find out his top tips on how to get the most out of your workout – and avoid injury – to mark this year’s National Fitness Day.
Preparation is key
Never skip out on your warm-up – build it in to the time you carve out for your workout. It’s key to signalling to your body that you are about to train and helps to prepare the muscles to avoid injury.
Start your warm-up with some dynamic stretching. This helps to prepare the body by:
- Steadily increasing your heart rate
- Increasing blood flow to the muscles
- Raising muscle temperature
Next, move on to activation exercises. These target and recruit the specific muscle groups you’re going to use during your main workout. For example, if you are preparing for a run, try to focus your activation exercises on glutes and muscles around the hips. Other great lower body stretches include dynamic calf pumps and lizard pose variations.
To prepare for upper body workouts, try some thoracic spine mobility stretches. Examples include wall rotations, foam roller extensions and side lying rotations.
Keep it cool
After your workout, always remember to incorporate cool-down exercises and movements. By gradually reducing the intensity from your main training, your heart rate and temperature also reduces in a controlled way. This allows blood to continue to circulate effectively during your body’s initial recovery.
For example, after a run, try a few minutes of fast walking. Or, if you’ve focused your training on the upper body, cool down with 5-10 minutes of gentle rowing.
Finally, finish your cool-down with some static stretching, aiming to hold each stretch for at least 30 seconds and focusing on each muscle group you’ve used during your workout