10 tips for starting exercise safely in the New Year

I’ve seen it regularly on Twitter and Facebook, where people are announcing a time for change and to get fit again. I’ve also seen several posts about how it’s not necessarily a good time to make a New Years resolution. In reality does it matter whether it is a good time or not? This is the time of year where people are looking forward and want to make changes after the binge eating of the Christmas season.
So with this in mind, I thought that I would post 10 simple pointers, which may help keep you injury free and motivated, if you are someone who is starting exercise after a long break:

1. Take it steady

– Start slow and gradually increase your exercise volume. I regularly see people who have “caught the bug” and don’t want to stop or done way too much too soon. We would would love to see a nice linear progression, but the reality is often much more complex.


Credit Adam Meakins, @AdamMeakins, http://www.thesports.physio.com

2. What are you trying to achieve?

– For some people goal setting can be really helpful, but keep it realistic and start with bite sized pieces. You can always adjust them if they are too easy.

3. Listen to your body

– I say this quite often, but it’s your biggest clue to something going wrong. Yes the exercise will be/should be tough, but you should also be recovering in-between sessions, if not you may need to reduce the intensity or take a longer rest.

4. Make a plan, but a flexible plan

– Once you’ve made your goals, make you’re plan. When is your time for exercise going to be? With our busy lives, it can be hard to fit stuff in, so make time for yourself. Having said that I quite often see injuries where people have been unwilling to deviate from their plans, where a rest week/low mileage week might have been all they needed.

5. Exercise with a friend


Ullswater Trail Race

– This can be a fantastic motivator, if you’ve made that commitment to exercise, you’re less likely to skip a session.


7. Measure your progress

– Again this can really help to motivate (can also go the other way if things aren’t going to plan), but think about what you are monitoring. If it’s just weight loss, there are quite often other improvements in fitness before you will see much change in your weight. So do you see a reduction in your Rate of Perceived Exertion (RPE) for a particular exercise, can you do more reps/walk/run/cycle further in a given time?

6. Use an app/technology

– I quite often suggest apps such as the “Couch to 5K” running app as a way of gradually increasing running volume. Other apps such as Strava, Endomondo or MapMyRun can also be useful to help monitor progress or log activity.

8. Diet and exercise go hand in hand

– After the excess of Christmas, this is important to recognise, but I’m not suggesting you need to jump on the newest fad diet out there. Look at what you eat and be honest with yourself, make small changes first and then build on these improvements.

9. Don’t put too much pressure on yourself

– Enjoy it! Find an exercise that you love to do and getting fit becomes so much more enjoyable. It should still be hard work though!

10. Keep it simple

– All of the above is so much easier if you keep it simple, find your way to exercising and fitness. I am a firm believer that there is a form of exercise out there for everyone, you just have to find yours.

On a final note: If you already have a niggle or injury which you feel is holding you back or even preventing you from exercising, get it checked out. At Ed Pratt Sports Therapy we can work with you to help prevent injuries, as well as treating current problems, with the aim of getting you back doing the exercise/sport you love.

Let me know what you think of the above tips and if you have any to add, which you think others will find useful add them to the comments box below.

Changes to the cost of services from April 2015

Firstly apologies for not getting this post out sooner.  Just to let you know of the changes to the cost of the different services offered at Ed Pratt Sports therapy. For full details click here.

But it’s not all bad news!  If you are a member of one of the clubs/organisations below, let me know at the time of booking and discounts are available (you may need proof of membership).

  • Northallerton Rugby Club
  • Bedale and Aiskew Runners
  • Northallerton Swimming Club
  • Bedale Football Club
  • Northallerton Hockey Club
  • Hambleton, Bedale and Thirsk and Sowerby Leisure Centre Staff

I am fully qualified to assess and treat sporting and occupational injuries, you do not have to me a sports person to visit the clinics. I am a member of The Society of Sports Therapists.

Society Member CMYK Logo

Your Pace or Theirs?

This is just a quick post about running training partners and follows on from my last post on training programmes.  From personal experience having a training partner is great, whether its running, cycling or gym workouts.  Benefits include:

  • Increased motivation to train,
  • Increased commitment to training plans,
  • Most of all, greater enjoyment of the sport you love (or are commited too!)

With the recent increase in runners through the clinic, due to the start of a new season and training for marathons, I have seen injuries that, although might not have been as a direct result from training partners, may have been influenced by them.  As the title of this post suggest the problems arose from running at either too quick or too slow a pace to suit them.  When running with someone else there is pressure to match their pace, which can effect your running style and therefore the stress on the body. Also, anthropometric variations (body shape, height and mass measurements)  mean that you may not have the same running pace as your training partner.

Below are some tips to help reduce the risk of injury when training with someone else:

  1. Work out your own pace (average min/mile),
  2. If they are better at  a particular aspect of running ie uphill / downhill, let them go ahead and catch up again on the flat,
  3. Do some of your training on your own, at your own pace.

Another option, which is very popular is to join a running group or club.  Here you will find many like minded people of all ages and abilities, making it easier to run at your own pace.  These clubs are usually already organised into slow, medium and fast groups.  There are several local running clubs and some of them are listed below, if yours isnt on there and you would like it to be either put the link in the comments box or send it to me and I’d be happy to update the post.

Northallerton – Swaledale Road Runners.

Bedale – Bedale and Aiskew Runners.

Thirsk – Thirsk and Sowerby Harriers.

Richmond – Richmond and Zetland Harriers.

Best wishes, Ed

Cricket Injuries

With the new cricket season just around the corner and nets practice already underway (Bedale, Thirsk, Darlington and Northallerton), I thought I’d share a few pointers on cricket related injuries and their prevention.
A International SportMed Journal Review (2001) found that most cricket injuries (33-66%) occur during bowling and most were acute (sudden onset) rather than acute on chronic or chronic. The study found that 24-30% of the injuries were recurrent from the previous season and 23-37% reoccurred within the same season. Other studies have shown that younger teams members are more at risk of injury when fast bowling. Therefore, the most at risk members of the team are the young, elite fast bowlers.

Below are three key tips to help prevent injuries in cricket?
1. Preseason training is key making sure that you gradually build up your pace, allowing your body to adjust after the off season.
2. Flexibility and stability exercises for the shoulder can help and should be a part of you preseason conditioning programme.
3. You need to address any injuries that are still niggling from last season, so you performance is not affected in the next.

The above tips assume that the correct protective equipment is worn. An article in the British Journal of Sports Medicine (2008), showed that head injuries in junior cricket dropped from 35% to just 4% of all injuries in the 2004/05 season after wearing helmets became mandatory.

I hope the above helps and you have a great season!



1. Shaw, F and Finch, CF (2008). Injuries to junior club cricketers: the effect of helmet regulations. Br J of Sports Medicine, 42, 437-440.

2. Stretc£h, RA (2001). Epidemiology of cricket injuries. International SportMed Journal , 2:2, 1-7.