Footman Podiatry and Gait Analysis Clinics

Putting Your Feet In Safe Hands With The Foot and Lower Limb Specialists

Exercise and Rehab

A Great Time To Get Active

Since the pandemic of COVID 19, many people have changed how they work. Using hybrid working patterns it often means working from home, and through reduced commuting its been a perfect opportunity to start exercising routines again. 

As podiatrists, you would probably be expecting us to be keen runners, however we are more at ease exercising in a gym, cycling, swimming or doing exercise classes. We try and fit in exercise at least 2-3 times a week, plus walking the dog which can add up to being quite a lengthy distance over a month.

My 25 year old Push Bike
Home Treadmill in a conservatory

Starting Out Gently

The biggest mistake most people make when they first start exercise is to do too much, too soon!  This can be anything from attempting a 5-10 mile walk across the hills, hitting the gym to see how much weight you can move  through to getting on an exercise bike or treadmill and going full belt for 5 - 10 minutes.  This is the first action into gaining or reviving an injury, and this will set you back even further.

People are often tempted to buy exercise equipment and use it in the home. The first time you exercise, especially at home with either an old or a new piece of exercise equipment, be it that fold up running machine / exercise bike which is stored in the spare room and acting as a clothes horse. Or the kit you've bought from one of the many shopping channels, which folds flat and stores under the bed or the back of the wardrobe, is to set it up, and use it for just a few minutes at a very gentle pace to ensure it is working correctly.  The main reason for this is you don't want to be getting to full pace, and then sustaining an injury when you fall off, or it jams etc. This is the same issue if you are dragging out that old push bike from the garage or shed, to start getting some fresh air.  Your first ride should be no more than a few minutes at a very gentle pace to ensure the brakes work, and the tyre pressure is correct.

The other reason to start off gently, is to make sure your rested injuries are able to cope with the exercise.  It doesn't have to be a leg injury you are protecting either.  When you run or cycle, your whole upper body is being used / moved, and any previous neck, back or shoulder injuries have to be taken into consideration and monitored with all exercise therapies.  This especially true for neck problems if you are cycling outside and need to be looking over your shoulder before turning right. The Running Physio is a great website for people looking for information about injuries and exercise. So check it out.

Sports Footwear

How Do You Know How Well You Are Doing?

Despite our previous occupations and working with all sorts of technology over the years, we still think the best way to monitor exercise progress is to keep things as simple as possible.  Unless you already own some form of Smart Watch, or some other monitoring gizmo, we wouldn't bother going out and spending huge amounts of money at the early stages of new exercise regimes.

Until you find out what exercise works for your body and your fitness levels, its probably worth just starting slowly and building up over time. You can download free apps to mobile phones, which can monitor your running or cycling progress. 

If you are going walking or cycling outside, keep the pace steady, and try to keep to a similar time when you first start out, at least for the first week or 2.  Building up too quickly will aggravate any previous problems, and set you back even further.

As the weeks pass, you should find it takes longer to become tired, and when you've finished, your recovery time is shorter.

What's The Best Way To Increase Your Exercise Levels

One of the simplest ways to increase your exercise level is to build it up very slowly.  For example, most people can walk or cycle for approximately 20 minutes at a slow or steady pace, 3 - 4 times a week without any major impact to their well-being.  Once you've exercised at this level for 1-2 weeks, break the time down to blocks of 5 minutes, and then exercise for 4 minutes at the slower pace, followed by 1 minute at an increased pace.  Do 4 sets of this for your 20 minutes of exercise.

After another 2-3 weeks, exercise for 3 minutes at the lower pace, and 2 minutes at the increased pace.  Every 2-3 weeks reduce the time at the lower rate, and increase the time at the higher rate.  This method is often used for returning to running after leg injuries, and is called the walk / run method, but can be used for cycling, step-ups, skipping etc.

Following this method for most forms of exercise will allow you to slowly increase your activity levels at a safe and steady pace.

Your Daily Routine

Try and keep a good daily routine, as it provides structure and helps keep you in a good frame of mind which is great for your mental health.

Make sure the bedside alarm wakes you up at the same time everyday, even on weekends and you get out of bed within 10 mins of the alarm. If you are taking exercise in the morning, try to have something light to eat first before you commence the exercise routine.

As well as running we have never been a big fan of treadmills / running machines either, In truth we normally find them quite boring, but listening to music we've not heard in quite a while, can bring back nostalgic memories of our youth, this may work for you too if you don't particularly like running, just make sure its music you really enjoy listening to.


Keeping Motivated

If you are finding it difficult to exercise on your own and keep motivated, then consider some groups. There are various park runs all over the UK and you can find the details here.

You may find engaging a personal coach, or even having an exercise group with friends and family easier easier to keep motivated.

Many running coaches have a couch to 5k program, indeed there is a website that can be found by following this link.

Whatever exercise regime you decide to do, the most important part is to find something you enjoy and persistence. Keep going and remember to build up slowly over time.


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