As we age, staying physically active is pretty important — “use it or lose it,” as the saying goes. And in New Zealand, there is no excuse for being a ‘couch potato’ because access to physical activities is easy — cycling, running, swimming, hiking; you name it.
Of course, with exercise, there is always the risk of injury. And if you have enjoyed an active life, you could well be carrying the odd ‘niggle’ that flairs up from time to time. Fear, however, is no reason not to exercise. You just have to be smart.
Don’t forget your stretching exercises
Before you engage in any strenuous activity, make sure you warm up with stretching exercises. By doing this, you prepare your body by gradually increasing your heart rate, loosening your joints and increasing blood flow to your muscles.
With this in mind, here are 5 easy stretching exercises
1. March on the spot (3 min)
Begin by marching on the spot. Then march forward and backwards. While doing this, thrust your arms up and down in time with your steps. Make sure your elbows are bent and don’t clench your fists too tightly.
2. Shoulder rolls (2 sets of 10 reps)
March on the spot and roll both shoulders forward and backwards five times. Your arms should hang loosely by your sides.
3. Heel digs (1 min)
While still marching, punch out your heels, alternating from left to right. Make sure there is a slight bend in your supporting leg. If you feel like making the exercise harder, sink lower.
4. Knee bends (10 reps)
Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart, and stretch your hands out. Bend your knees to lower yourself by no more than 10cm. Then, rise and repeat.
5. Knee lifts (30 sec)
Try to do 30 of these. Stand tall and raise alternate knees to touch your opposite hands (left knee, right hand). Make sure your abs are tight, and your back is straight. Also, your supporting leg should have a slight bend.
Do you know about compression socks?
Another way of preventing injury is to wear compression socks. In case you’re wondering what they are, compression socks work by applying pressure to your legs, which in turn, speeds up blood flow in your veins. The compression is graduated. This means the pressure is greatest at the ankle and least at the knees, which prevents you feeling restricted.
What’s the point? Here are three benefits:
- Compression socks lessen damage and help the recovery of muscle tissue
- Compression socks reduce the build-up of lactic acid
- Compression socks reduce the onset of muscle cramp.
Compression socks also provide additional support for ankles, calves and legs. If you like to get out and about in the great outdoors, they also offer protection from minor scratches. Many people say that wearing compression socks is like having springs on your feet.
Life is short, so don’t let fear of injury stop you from pursuing your goals. Instead, just be smart and prepare.
You can find out more about TXG’s range of Sports Compression Socks and Sleeves by clicking here.
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This content is provided by TXG for information purposes only. We advise anyone interested in this subject to seek qualified professional advice.