Our physiotherapist has 3 easy tips for avoiding injuries while exercising
Do you only see a physiotherapist – or physical therapist, depending on which part of the world you’re from – when things go wrong? When you’re limping around with a sprained ankle, a problem knee is preventing you from working out, or a sore back is totally cramping your lifestyle?
It’s time to take control of your fitness journey. Getting proactive about injury prevention by doing all the right things will keep you OFF the physio’s treatment table and on track to your goals. And that’s exactly what Dr. Jessica Warnecke is here to help you do.
Dr. Jessica specialises in women’s and postpartum fitness. As part of my FIT team, she’ll be sharing expert advice to keep you feeling physically strong. I asked Dr. Jessica for her top three tips to help you avoid injuries while exercising.
1. It all starts with movement
“I’m a big believer in movement for your health and happiness!” says Dr. Jessica. “Give your body a minimum of 20 minutes of activity every day – even if it’s just walking around the block. Movement releases endorphins to help enhance our mood, reduce pain, improve circulation, and assist with muscle recovery. Regular movement has been shown to help reduce chronic pain, too, especially in the lower back.”
That’s why, on those days when you’re not feeling it, you should at least commit to starting something – often just a little bit of movement will motivate you to do more, and before you know it you’ve completed a full workout.
2. Dynamic stretching is queen
In her practice, Dr Jessica is focused on educating and empowering women to stay active or safely return to fitness. And one of the big mistakes she sees people making is doing only a quick stretch before jumping into a workout.
“You should be doing dynamic mobility drills BEFORE working out, and leave static stretching for AFTER exercise,” she explains.
“Doing static stretching before a workout can impact your performance and has been shown to actually increase your chance of injury. On the other hand, dynamic movement that takes your body through a range of motion before a workout has been shown to improve performance and lower your risk of injury.”
This is exactly how my FIT warm-ups (with dynamic warm up movements such as skaters and core twists) and cool-downs (with specific muscle stretches that are held) are designed – to help you perform at your best! So with Dr. Jessica backing me up, there’s no way you’re going to skip them, right?
What happens if you DO skip the warm-up? “Body parts such as your thoracic spine, hips, and ankles are meant to be mobile,” says Dr. Jessica. “If they’re stiff, you are more likely to have pain in areas that are meant to be stable, such as your shoulders, low back, knees, and feet.”
3. Strength training for women is vital
Dr. Jessica’s ultimate tip for staying off the physio’s treatment table? Don’t be afraid to lift weights!
“Strength training has so many benefits for women, no matter what stage of life you’re at. When you’re performing weighted squats, deadlifts and rows with good form and proper progression, you’re helping to keep your back, knees and shoulders healthy.”
And whatever you do, mix it up.
“Be sure to train all planes of movement – this means adding in unilateral (one side) exercises, side-to-side movements and twists,” Dr Jessica says. “Your body is meant to move in all directions. Training front-to-back or up and down is only part of the picture.”
Personal trainer • Founder
Emily Skye is a strength training expert and the face of FIT, the digital fitness app that helps women worldwide build strength and confidence, stay active through pregnancy and rebuild post-pregnancy. Emily holds a Certificate IV in Fitness and Master Trainer qualification from the Australian Institute of Fitness. She is also co-founder of James Cosmetics and a mother of two.
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