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Top tips for National Fitness Day
Post date: 7 Sep 2015

All over the UK the fitness and health industry are preparing for National Fitness Day on 9 September 2015. This is a great opportunity for people to engage with exercise, which has been shown to improve all areas of life including reduced risk of diabetes and stroke as well as keeping weight down and improving mood (1). Physio-led pilates

It is important that you exercise wisely. Exercise can cause injuries and pain which unless you're cautious can get worse. Here at MCH musculoskeletal physiotherapy we have a modern environment to assess and treat any issues as a result of pain. If you have any pain during exercise, seek a referral from your GP to the MCH physiotherapy team (2).

Gareth Marlow, our team lead physiotherapist, has been working at MCH since 2010 after qualifying in 2008 from Coventry university. He also has interests in sport physiotherapy and has completed acupuncture training and a musculoskeletal medicine diploma course. 

Here are his top tips to keep you pain free:

  • Warm up

The aim of a warm up is to improve your circulation to warm up the soft tissues and joints to reduce injury risk. So dependent on your activity, a 5 minute cycle or brisk walk before activity can achieve this. If you are doing more higher level exercises, like high intensity or sport, consider doing moves that mimic the activity after your 5 minutes (e.g football- practice leg swings, rugby- slowly turning the body with arms).

  • Stretch

After the warm up make sure you stretch. Stretching shouldn't be painful but you should feel a sensation of stretch in the muscle belly. Dynamic stretches (stretching for short time on the move) have been shown to keep the muscles warm whilst improving flexibility. Static stretches (long holds of stretch) do not necessarily reduce the risk of injury and some evidence says it can reduce muscle performance. Check out this video on dynamic stretching and warm up exercises for more information (3).

  • Treat pain with respect

If you develop pain during exercise think to yourself 'what am I doing? Is this something I do regularly?' If you experience pain - stop- give your body area a rest, ice can help improve pain. If the pain persists seek a physiotherapy referral from your GP. 

  • Do not go beyond your limits

If you haven’t trained to do high intensity workouts or long distance running, for example, your body will probably be unable to cope with the intensity. All training needs to be at the right intensity so you can recover within a day or two but also needs to be gradually increased to get sufficient rewards. This can take a few months to a year.

  • Recover

Post exercise static stretching can be more beneficial. Make sure you keep hydrated and replace electrolytes lost through exercise and that your diet can support the demands of the exercise. Dieticians and fitness and nutritional experts can advise on this.


1. Department of Health (2011) Physical activity guidelines for adults (19-64years) https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/213740/dh_128145.pdf

2. Medway Community Healthcare. http://www.medwaycommunityhealthcare.nhs.uk/our-services/physiotherapy-msk/why-choose-us/

3. Dynamic stretching and warm up exercises. http://www.runnersworld.com/stretching/a-dynamic-stretching-routine.

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