Monday, November 28, 2011

Exercise well...But take good care too...

Yes, we have been told that we need to exercise to remain fit, healthy and strong. However, there're several factors that affect the level of intensity and type of activity we engage in.

Through conversations I have with friends and people whom I've met, I found 'running' to be the most popular activity. I think it's the most convenient and cheapest activity. After a long hiatus of sedentary lifestyle, one day, someone decides to be active once again, like in their younger years. So, they just put on a pair of running shoes and off they go.

Not sure if many of the you readers are one of them. Maybe you may start with 4km, maybe 5km..or maybe even more! We must be note that age (we're older now), and a long period of inactivity means we may not be able to run the same distance we used to in our younger years..

I was at the Channel NewsAsia Seminar on Joint Health last week. Dr Tan Jee-Lim, Orthopaedic Surgeon at Gleneagles Hospital gave us some points to note:

  1. Pain is a signal that something is wrong, for example. when there's a stress fracture, the signal is pain! This means it's time to back-off on your exercise regime.
  2. Rule of thumb for exercise progression: 10% increase every 2 weeks.
  3. . Choose sports equipment / apparatus wisely. Wherever possible, consult a doctor/sports physician or coach. Buy the right equipment, NOT the latest (the latest doesn't mean it's the best).

Injury Prevention Tips

1. Do a pre-participation screening.
This is to ensure we have a medical clearance that we are fit to start the exercise regime; that there is no 'hidden' medical concerns such as irregular heartbeat, etc that we were never aware of.

2. Listen to your body

3. Cross train
For example, the day after you've done a run, go for a swim instead; rest the lower limbs/legs. Alternate the the swim and the run.

4. Periodic training
Pick the exercises you want to do and be selective on the number of races to do in a year too. This is so that you're only training for a certain period of time during the year and NOT all the time. Otherwise, there would be inadequate rest. So, say choose to do 2 or 3 marathons in a year, and not sign up for all the marathons.

5. Appropriate equipment

6. Proper technique

When do you seek treatment?
~ When the pain persists for >1 week, it's time to see the doctor
~ Pain is a symptom of an problem/issue. So, see a doctor and get it diagnosed. Then, seek treatment.
~ Identify root cause of the condition (could be the way you walk, run, sit, etc that may have caused it).

Image source:

There! I hope you enjoy yourselves in whatever activities you're engaged in whether it's running, swimming, cycling, Pilates, Yoga, etc, while knowing your current state of health and level at which you may push yourself just that little bit more or to take it easier on yourself for the moment.

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Movement should be approached like life - with enthusiasm, joy and gratitude – for movement is life and life is movement, and we get out of it what we put into it.”

~ Ron Fletcher

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