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Summer and the sun shinning usually brings out the new runners, the new resolution to get fit and lose weight, resulting in various forms of injuries.

After 17 years  as a senior physiotherapist and treating the ‘spring/summer warriors’ every year, below are my top 5 reasons why you shouldn’t exercise:

1) You haven’t built up your strength first

One of the biggest mistakes is to start a rigorous cardio program without building a good base of strength first. In particular, you need to work on your core stability and major propulsion muscles, such as the gluteus maximus muscles, the quadriceps and the calf muscles. These muscles need strengthening before starting a running, jogging or even a regular walking program. Focussing a strengthening program for these muscles will minimise the chances of injuries as well as enable you to walk or run for longer distances.

2) You haven’t recovered enough from your last exercise session

More is not better, it’s just more and your chances of injury increases if you have not had adequate recovery time between exercise sessions.

For best results for any exercise programs, 2 -3 times a week is ideal.

Your muscles grow and change when you rest but not when you exercise, so both components are important for best outcomes.  Lack of rest between exercise sessions places greater strain on the muscles because of inadequate time to repair itself, increasing the chance of injury to occur.

3) You have pain in your body that is not normal, muscle soreness from exercise

If you do a heavy workout, it is not unusual to have soreness in the muscles. This feels like a soreness or heavy sensation in the muscles, usually in the legs and tends to happen a day or two after the workout. However, if it is a pain sensation, such as an ache, sharp or shooting sensation or is in the joints rather than the muscles, this is not normal and should be investigated, to determine if this is an injury and should be treated appropriately.

4) You are unwell or have the flu

If you are unwell or sick, you need to recover from your illness before re-commencing your program.

When you are unwell, your body is already fighting the infection, causing aches and pains and  your heart rate is generally elevated.

Adding an additional load of exercise on top of this adds extra strain on your heart, your immune system and could mean longer recovery from the illness. So, rest, recover and you’ll be back to your program much faster

5) You’re starting a new program, without knowing what you are doing

Going to the gym, starting a Pilates program or trying a new sport for the first time, without getting qualified training or guidance will usually mean you may not be working the right muscle groups or have the correct technique. This could mean not getting the most from your program and are more likely to injure yourself, putting a damper to your new exercise program.

Some professional coaching or advice can be a real short cut in getting what you want from your exercise regime and faster outcomes.

Have you ever injured yourself from going to hard to fast? Please SHARE your experiences in the comments.

Image courtesy of Shutterstock.com

  • Lol no. I give up way before I get to the stage of too much too soon. I jog/fast walk 40 mins a day, walk my dog for an hour (with 1kg weights on my ankles), a slow 20 minute walk for my older dog and finally…..either 45 mins of yoga or a WII workout most days of the week. I’m still overweight and I still dislike exercise immensely and still feel unfit :(


    • Wow, you exercise really a lot ! Good on you for keeping it up, eventhough you dislike it so much ! Maybe your focus shouldn’t be on exercising but more on taking the dogs out and being in nature ? You sound negative about your weight, bless you. When this is something you’re unhappy about did you think about going to a Naturopath or a Health Coach ?

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  • I’ve never had an injury but aches yes

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  • Society seems to put way to much pressure on people to exercise and unfortunately it means people push themselves to far

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  • Most Doctors tell their patients to rest while recovering from illness. My blood pressure always rises if I am sick at all, even when I am resting in bed it can stay up for longer than it should.

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  • I got really aick and once i was in recovery the psyhios told me to get back into fitness i took it to literally and ended up injuring myself.
    Take things slow. Stay in your own lane and level and see how you go.

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  • Very wise words written here

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  • i haven’t injured myself. i remember being a bit more achy on the knees from riding my exercise bike. it turned out that i just need to adjust it a little bit higher.


    • Good point – make sure equipment works well and is adjusted to your body type.

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  • This is sensible – if I’ve been a slug (due to something like illness), I’ll build up with some walking first.

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  • Great advise. I have hurt my body by going to fast without proper warm ups and couldn’t walk properly for a week. Never again.

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  • Exercise is super important but agree that it needs to be done properly!

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  • yeah you have to build up your fitness and increase the challenge later on.

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  • Starting gentle is vital to success

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  • Lke. Nh

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  • I definitely agree that it’s important to build up your fitness and not try something too strenuous when just starting out.

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  • No I have never injured myself from going to hard, just muscle soreness

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