Finding the motivation, routines or workouts to lead a more active life has never been easier. Still, exercise isn’t without its troubles – sore feet and aching muscles are no fun! – which have a habit of tripping up beginners at the first hurdle.
There’s no doubt your body will take time to adjust, but there are a number of ways to prevent or lessen the impact of the most common ailments, to ensure you and your family are keeping fit and having fun.
Muscle Stiffness & Soreness
While opinions remain split on the advantages of the age-old icepack, many people swear by it. Directly applying an icepack wrapped in a dish cloth or t-towel can help to alleviate immediate muscle discomfort, as well as help prevent Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness, which usually occurs within 24 to 48 hours after exercise as a result of overexerting yourself.
Cooling down may help post-workout, but research suggests that warming up with lighter exercises leads to better long-term results, and happier muscles. Instead of launching straight into your workout, introduce some light routines to allow your muscles the time to prepare for the exercise ahead.
They say Rome wasn’t built overnight, and neither was your body ready to run a marathon just because you said so! That you’ve taken these initial steps is a great start, but it’s important not to push yourself too far at the outset.
Understand your limitations, get to know what you’re comfortable with, and start slow. Take a walk with a friend. Go for a jog around the block. Take the stairs instead of the elevator. Slowly work your way into new, more intensive workouts, and allow your body the time it needs to adjust.
Does The Shoe Fit?
Whether you’re taking a walk or running a marathon, it’s vital that your footwear is working with you, rather than against you. Everyone’s feet are different, so make sure you take the time to select a pair of shoes that fit your needs.
Overly tight? You’ll be uncomfortable from the get-go. Overly loose? Your shoes will jostle and rub, inevitably leading to blisters. As tempting as it may be to get out there and get moving, make sure your footwear is as ready as you are. Your feet will thank you for it.
Much like chafing, moisture only speeds up the occurrence of blisters, whether its damp socks or wet shoes. Your best bet is to look for moisture-wicking socks, aiming for synthetic fabrics like Spandex or
Easy Does It
New shoes are notorious for causing blisters, so take it easy. As tempting as it may be to throw those old, smelly sneakers in the trash, try alternating between your old and new pair instead. Not only will this give your new shoes a chance to soften up, but it gives your feet a break and means blisters are far less likely.
Dress To Impress
Just like blisters, chafing is caused by excessive friction between surfaces, so when it comes to exercise, it’s important to choose workout gear that will let your skin breathe. Synthetic, moisture-wicking fabrics are, yet again, recommended, helping sweat to evaporate quickly and ensuring your skin is kept cool. Oh, and avoid Cotton. It may be your friend on a cold winter’s day, but it’s your worst enemy when it comes to the training track, as it holds onto moisture and makes chafing that much worse.
Clothing with flat or minimal seams and stitching is also a plus, as is clothing that fits your body. Loose fabric and clothing can rub and lead to chafing and the increased potential of fungal skin infections, so snug fitting is best. Just make sure it isn’t too tight, as blood circulation is still important!
Keeping hydrated is vital when it comes to exercise. Making sure you’re getting enough water also has the added benefit of alleviating the risks of chafing, preventing dehydration and allowing you to perspire freely.
Pills & Potions
Clothes picked out? Water bottle handy? Even with smart preparation, for some, chafing is inevitable. Habit may have you reaching for the Petroleum Jelly, but there are natural anti chafing alternatives that are that much better for you.
Anti-chafing creams help by alleviating and preventing the friction that causes chafing, applied to problem areas like the inner-thigh or underarms. Not only that, but these natural alternatives help to repair the skin, and don’t rub off as easily in harsher environments like their chemical alternatives.
Do you have any tips of your own? A fantastic home remedy to fight the aches and pains of exercise? Let us know in the comments below!