As we gear up for a summer of sport, it would seem Brits are going for gold.
New research from BootsWebMD.com shows over half have started a new fitness regime this year, with the main motivation among 2,000 people who have done so being to keep fit rather than lose weight.
Their good intentions are making them feel less stressed and more confident yet nearly one in five has sustained an injury. As well as bruises, the most common injuries are ankle or wrist sprains, shin splints, pulling a muscle and hamstring injuries.
Fitness instructor and TV trainer from ITV’s ‘The Biggest Loser’ Richard Callender comments: “It’s really encouraging to see so many people getting more active in 2012. Everyone has different motivations for exercising whether it’s to keep fit, lose weight, de-stress or just to have fun and socialise with friends and family, but it’s vital they all know how to exercise safely.”
The research shows that for people to continue this positive step, stay healthy and prepare for a summer of sport they need to be taking greater care when exercising. Over a quarter of people surveyed admit they do not feel confident they are exercising in a correct and safe way, and reasons for injury include not following instructions properly, exercising too strenuously or not being offered proper inductions. A third of the injuries has led to a long-term health problem.
Dr Rob Hicks, GP and BootsWebMD.com contributor says: “Exercising is one of the best ways for people to stay fit and healthy, and it’s important that people look after themselves and follow the correct instructions when they exercise and know what level of exercise they should be adopting. There are both short and long-term health consequences of not exercising safely and people should ensure they feel comfortable with what they are doing before they start.”
Top tips for exercising safely
Richard Callender shares some of his main tips for people who have or want to start exercising:
Always make sure you eat breakfast to ensure your body has enough fuel to provide energy for all its essential processes and for fat loss
If time is against you then make sure you schedule smaller duration workouts during the week to help tone muscle, burn fat and improve your health. A 30 minute workout a couple of times a week is better than doing nothing (NHS guidance recommends 30 minutes of exercise 5 times per week)
Always have a clear goal that is powerful enough for you to want to make the necessary changes to your lifestyle to achieve it
Instead of trying to change too many aspects of your diet to make a radical difference in a short space of time, look at making small changes that don't feel extreme and you can manage. It is much better to lose weight gradually.
Enlist the help of friends/partner to help you with your fitness and health changes and turn them into your own cheerleading team that will keep you positive and motivated
When shopping, try to buy as many colourful vegetables as possible and incorporate them into your daily diet to increase your vitamins, minerals and fibre
BootsWebMD.com is a source of online health information and includes a dedicated fitness centre with guidance on staying fit and how to exercise safely. As well as tips for exercising and ways to avoid workout injuries there are also details of the least effective exercises.