Introducing Mick Hughes and his New Years' Resolution Blog!

The Melbourne Sports Medicine Centre is proud to welcome Physiotherapist Mick Hughes to our team of experienced Physiotherapists.  Mick has recently commenced sessions at The Melbourne Sports Medicine Centre.  He comes to us from a busy Newcastle Sports Physiotherapy Clinic and has dual qualifications in Physiotherapy and Exercise Physiology. 

Mick is passionate about injury prevention and injury minimisation as outlined in his blog below.  Read on to learn more about Mick, his style and his New Years Resolution recommendations.

'As heads clear after yet another very festive season, I just want to quickly write a physio-blog on New Years' resolutions. Last year's resolution for me was to be a good dad, and I think, we'll at least I hope, I achieved that. This year my resolution is like most peoples, to get healthier and fitter. Now if that sounds like you too, I salute you!! But please don't fall into the following scenario that I see each and every January:

1st January:

Wake up dusty and slightly depressed. Make the resolution that you want want to lose 10+ kgs, including the 3kgs you have put on since the start of December. Grab a glass of water, 2x Panadol, 2x Nurofen, some leftover pizza, go back to bed and say that you'll start tomorrow.

2nd January:

Sign up to a gym, or employ a personal trainer and commence 6-week bootcamp of 5-6 sessions per week.

4th-10th January:

Wake up feeling like every muscle in your body has had been stabbed by a million little daggers. At this point, you'll do either of 2 things: give up and ask for a refund, or push through thinking "no pain, no gain".

If you have pushed through, we'll done!! By the 3rd or 4th week you may have lost a couple of kilos. You may not be waking up so sore. In fact, you might be feeling pretty awesome. However, during this critical period of exercise, you'll most likely also develop a soft tissue injury, causing you to stop training. Thus starting a "boom/bust" cycle - a term we use in the physio world where you go through a "boom" of motivation to exercise, going too hard and too fast, only to "bust" a short time later. Most people will pick themselves up, dust themselves off and try exercising again after having a brief period of rest, only for the same thing to happen a few weeks or months later. This cycle is often repeated many times over, with every cycle becoming increasingly disgruntled about doing exercise. The next thing you know, you're waking up on New Year's Day 2017 trying to start it all over again.

Now if there are 2 things that I have learnt over the last few years to overcome this typical pattern of behaviour, and subsequent injury, it is this...

Firstly, despite what your ego says, you're not 18 anymore (unless you're reading this and you are 18). And secondly, you're not an elite athlete.

If you haven't performed an ounce of exercise in the last 3 months, let alone the last 12 months, and you want to lose 10+ kgs by the end of February, I'd say to you that you need to tread very, very carefully if you don't want to get injured. In fact, I'd say that goal is unrealistic. When you were 18, you may have gotten away with it, but noticing that 70% of my readers are aged between 25 and 34, you're at a stage of life where consistent exercise and strength training is very important to avoid injury.

There's been a couple of great studies published recently on acute vs chronic loads in regards to injury. Granted, the research is done on elite AFL, NRL and cricket players, but in my opinion, the principles can also apply to the general population. The basics of this research is that if you don't have a good "bank" of chronic exercise load (ie. if you have not trained consistently for the previous 4-6 weeks at least) and all of a sudden you start a high intensity exercise program, you've got a very high chance of injury. However if you do have a good "bank" of chronic exercise under your belt, and you start a high intensity program, your body is more likely to handle it, and you have less chance of getting injured. - (podcast link)

As a result of my experience and this research, the biggest piece of advice I have for you is to take it easy for the first 4-6 weeks, and don't be tempted to start that bootcamp yet. Simply start by getting off the couch and moving most days per week. This sounds very basic I know, but if you haven't regularly walked, cycled or swam for 45mins, 3-5x per week for the last few months, how on earth do you think you're going to cope with running, jumping, boxing and doing push-ups and burpees for 45mins, 5x per week? My other piece of advice here is to start doing some simple body-weight exercises such as squats, lunges, push-ups and side planks to help you become a bit more resilient before you start doing the higher intensity training. But please, please, please get a physio or exercise physiologist to show you how to do them!! I see so many people squat and lunge poorly, that it will likely cause knee or hip pain. 2x per week of strength training should do the trick, as previous studies have shown that it will reduce your chances of overuse injury by 50%.

Failing this, if you don't listen to what I have to say and you start doing bootcamps, CrossFit, F45 exercise classes or any other type of high-intensity exercise, please do this on alternate days for the first 6 weeks to allow your body to recover from the previous days exercise. In fact, 1 study has shown excellent results in favour of high intensity exercise conducted 2x per week only. In a study of inactive teenagers, high-intensity exercise was shown to significantly reduce body fat mass, reduced waist circumference and increased fitness levels with 2 sessions per week for 2 months. Although this population of subjects are very different to most of you, the underlying principle remains the same: You don't have to flog yourself to get good results. This also ties in very well with with my last point that rest days are just as important as exercise days; less than 2 days per week rest, increases the risk of overuse injuries by 5x.

If however, you have followed this plan and you are still unlucky enough to pick up an injury, the best thing you can do to help you stay on track and achieve your goals, is to NOT simply rest. This may shock some of you, but resting for 2 weeks doesn't address the strength or flexibility issues that has likely lead to your overuse injury and only encourages the "boom/bust" cycle. Modifying your exercise program and performing some rehab/prevention exercises under the guidance of your physiotherapist, is a much better way to address your injury.

I could literally talk about this topic for days, and I know that I've given a very broad overview on how to avoid overuse injuries when embarking on an exercise program. Obviously, every person is different on what their exercise tolerance is, and what their fitness goals are, so please remember to seek some appropriate professional advice before you commence any exercise or strength training program, especially if you are coming form a low fitness base.  At The Melbourne Sports Medicine Centre we have an array of Sports Doctors, physiotherapists and exercise physiologists that can hlep to advise you on appropriate exercise loads and methods for you.  Also remember to listen to your body as it responds to exercise, modify your program as necessary and again seek advice and treatment as appropriate in order to maximise the amount of exercise you can safely do and minimise injury.

That will do for now. All the best for 2016 everyone! I hope that it has started off wonderfully for you and your families, and that the year brings you everything that you wish for!'

You can read more about Mick here, you can book online for Mick here, or if you prefer, phone 9650 9372.