Getting fit is often at the top of people's to do lists in January, so here are my top tips for getting back into exercise to help minimise injury risk and maintain motivation.
1) Build Up Gradually
As tempting as it can be to get stuck in with your new regime, if you haven't exercised for a while you should start off a little bit easier. Not only will this help to prevent injuries from over-straining, but also help with your motivation as you're more likely to feel great after that first session!
2) Make Time
It's easy to say go to the gym or head out for a run now and then, but to get the most benefit you need to make time for your workout. By scheduling specific times and days and sticking to them you'll find yourself getting into a routine and being more motivated to go.
3) Find an Exercise Buddy
Exercising with a friend is a great way to keep motivated. As well as encouraging each other to get going or keep going while you are exercising, it's good to have someone to look out for you and make sure you stay safe - whether it's running together in the park or spotting each other in the gym.
4) Warm Up
A gentle warm up is key to exercise at any level. Getting the body moving and gradually increasing heart rate is important to prepare the body for what is coming. Skipping this important step could lead to excess muscle soreness or even injury during your workout.
5) Cool Down
It's always tempting to head straight for the showers when you've finished the bulk of your workout - but don't forget to cool down! Gradually reducing your heart rate and stretching out all of your muscles will help you to reduce that ache and make you feel great!
6) Do It For YOU
The primary reason for exercise should be yourself. Think about what you really want to get out of exercise and set goals - make them SMART (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, Time-Bound). This will help you to keep on track and hold on to that motivation.