Fitness Pitfall 5: Falling foul of injury or illness
Usual Outcome: An interrupted fitness plan leads to frustration and loss of routine
The Road to Success: Understand injury or illness and work around them
Embarking on a new fitness regime can be a daunting prospect if you are in good health and even more of a challenge if you are carrying a long-term injury or ongoing illness. If you have any kind of pre-existing medical condition at all you must seek advice from a doctor or a specialist before you put your fitness plans into action. There are two reasons for this. Firstly, you need to be medically safe to proceed and you must be sure that any action you take in a new regime is not going to aggravate your condition. Secondly, you need some initial guidance on what you will and will not be able to do. A medical specialist will provide you with early direction on what your programme should consist of to most effectively fix any long-term injury or work around any pre-existing medical condition.
If you develop an injury after you begin your new programme, seek advice on what you should do as soon as you can. Too many people are put off their exercise routine because of something quite minor that could be fixed in a matter of days. Letting a minor injury get in the way of fitness progress is often a sign there is something missing with the plan or the motivation and the injury is just a good excuse to avoid doing what needs to be done. Because your exercise plans have been so carefully considered, and your motivation is high, you will be in the opposite position and will be keen to fix any injury soon so you can get on with reaching your goals.
If you feel unwell but are not sure what is wrong, your GP should be the first person you visit. He will be able to diagnose your illness and advise you on the way forward, whether this be with medication or with an alternative solution. He/she will also be able to tell you whether or not it is wise to exercise prior to full recovery.
If you have injured yourself, your GP will advise you of what your specific injury is and how you can fix it. He/she may advise rest or he may advise specific exercises to correct a minor problem area. If your injury is more serious you will be referred to a specialist. This may be a physiotherapist, osteopath, chiropractor, podiatrist or any number of other experts, depending on your situation.
Top Tip Injury
This is simple advice. If you are injured and you visit your GP or an expert practitioner and they provide you with some rehabilitation exercises, make sure you do them. Many people allow a short-term injury to turn into long-term aggravation simply by not taking simple steps to fix the injury at an early stage.
Top Tip Illness
If you feel under the weather and you are not sure if you should exercise or not, use the following guidelines. If you are beginning to feel ill you may still be able to exercise but be careful. Go gently as your capacity for exercise will naturally be reduced as your body tries to fight off the illness. If you feel groggy above the neck and are suffering from cold symptoms, sore eyes or a runny nose, you are OK to exercise gently as long as you are safe and will not make your symptoms worse. If your bones are aching and you display symptoms of ‘flu such as shivering or feeling hot and cold, you should rest until you feel better. Consider others when ill and do not go to the gym if you are in danger of passing anything on. As you recover you may be able to exercise outside with a walk, a gentle jog or bike ride and the fresh air could do you the power of good.