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The Irish Society of Chartered Physiotherapists

New Year, New You

New Year, new you right? Are you thinking of changing your activity level for the better in 2024?
That’s great! Exercising regularly has a million and one benefits, some of which are;

  • Losing some excess body weight
  • Improving your cardiovascular (Heart) health
  • Improving your mental health
  • Building some extra muscle as well as improving your bone health.

You don’t have to bury yourself in the gym for three hours or take off sprinting out the front door. A simple 30-minute walk is a great start. A common trend is to start running after the Christmas period to shed the few days of turkey off. If you’re looking to start running for the first time here are some tips to avoid a lower limb injury.


Start slow:
We tend to rush into things expecting ourselves to be experts. Rushing into running when you haven’t run in a while can be a big mistake. Our bodies don’t just ‘adjust’ to the 1, 5, 10-kilometre route you mapped out. We need to start slow. You can start by walking the route first. Get your bearings. Build from walking the route to alternating walking and jogging, be it walk for 5 minutes jog for 1, or walk until you reach a landmark (Such as your neighbour’s house, a tree or shop) and then jog to the next. Remember we all started to crawl before we walked.

Have a routine:
Bring along a friend or family member to keep you accountable. Use the same route so you know what’s ahead and you can compare distances as you improve. Make sure you take time to warm up.
Aim to warm up each part of your body, the ankles, calves, knees,
and hips. It can be jogging on the spot, light stretching, a few squats or squat jumps. The more body parts that are warmed up and firing, the less likely you are to develop an insidious injury. Having a routine can help with consistency and keep you running into the new year.

Be careful:
Being out this time of the year, we don’t have much light to work with. If you intend on taking up road running make sure you’re safe doing so. Wear a high vis and reflective gear so cars can see you at any time of the day. Wrap up warm. Wear layers so when you stop or slow down, it’s not the weather that’s going to force you home. Ask yourself some questions; Is your route safe? Are the roads wide enough for a car to pass you? Does your route have heavy traffic? Are the roads Icy?

If you have taken up running for the new year that’s great! Just make sure to be careful doing so.

  • Running in improper footwear could cause foot or calf issues.
  • Running on uneven surfaces could lead to a rolled ankle or jarring of your knee. Make sure to try on runners in shops and do some research on what type suits you and your needs.
  • Common running-related issues include tight muscles, acute pain in the hip or lateral knee, and foot pain with activity.

If this sounds like you, make sure to get it seen before continuing on your fitness journey. The team of therapists here can aid you with your issue. We have specific services such as Deep tissue/ Sports massage for those hard-working muscles. For injuries, we have a lower-limb injury service where our team of Athletic therapists specialize in treating.

If you feel the above relates to you, or if you resonate with any of the above conditions, please do not hesitate to contact us and book a consultation today. A thorough assessment will take place and appropriate glute activation education and exercises will be advised where necessary.

By Alan Hartigan,
Athletic Therapist

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