• Top Tips to Kick-Start Your Pre-Season

    Are you back from your summer break, feeling fresh and looking to get back on track? Or perhaps you’re still very much on holiday with little intention of keeping up with a strict routine, but want to keep one eye on what to do when you come back?

    As professional footballers around the country head back to the training ground for pre-season, it’s ideal to start thinking about how you should approach your own return to regular exercise. We’ve got plenty of tips as well as product suggestions to help kick-start your fitness regime.

    Comfort and Preparation is Key

    If you’re heading out for your first proper run in weeks, you don’t want to be hampered by any entirely avoidable issues halfway through. Warm up with a series of stretches before you set off, even if you’re only going for a jog around the park; this should be something you do before you exercise anyway, but it’s easy to skip that part if you’re itching to get back into the swing of things. Pull out the exercise gear from wherever you’ve been hiding it during your holiday and make sure you take care of your feet, too. If you’ve ditched your trainers in a dark corner of the wardrobe while you’ve been away, dust them off and test them out to see if they still fit well and feel comfy.

    The 1000 Mile Fusion Socks give your feet extra protection by providing padding for key areas of the foot, while the unique material helps to keep them dry. The socks also come with a blister-free guarantee.

    Start Slowly

    Don’t throw yourself into a long, complicated exercise plan which involves being three times as active as you were on your break. That’s a sure-fire way to increase your risk of injury and wear yourself out before you’ve even started. For the first few sessions, put yourself into the mindset of a beginner, ease back into a regular routine but set achievable goals and keep the intensity low. Away from the gym, kick things off with something small, like a bike ride around the block, a long walk with the dog or a kickabout with the kids. The little things add up and, if you do yourself justice, you’ll soon be pushing yourself to get back to where you left off before your holiday.

    Injured? Take Action

    Whether you’ve adjusted well or rushed back too quickly, injuries can happen, and it’s definitely not wise to ignore them. If you feel as though something isn’t quite right, don’t continue to physically exert the problem area and certainly don’t overdo it. Take a break, find out what’s wrong and allow yourself time to recover. Running it out will just increase the pain, prolong the whole process and make your return to exercising as short-lived as your summer holiday felt. If you are experiencing any pain or inflammation, follow the PRICE protocol: protection, rest, ice, compression and elevation. Consult an expert as soon as possible.

    It’s also an idea to invest in an appropriate brace or support to assist your recovery. For example, if you’re a runner plagued with IT (iliotibial) band syndrome, the Ultimate Performance Ultimate ITB Strap helps to relieve the symptoms.

    Prevention is Better than Cure

    Tying in with the previous point, if you know you already have a problem area, itֳ wise to protect yourself from any further issues, particularly if your body has adjusted to being a no-exercise zone. If you’ve had surgery in the past or you know a specific joint or muscle isn’t as strong as it should be, it helps to provide that bit of extra support. A light, comfortable sleeve or a small, unobtrusive brace will give you peace of mind without interfering in your exercise routine, allowing you to get back up to speed safely.

    Look out for something with stretchy and breathable material; this will avoid a build-up of sweat and therefore bacteria under the brace, while ensuring your movement isn’t restricted, either. The Ultimate Performance Ultimate Compression Elastic Knee Support is a good example for those of you with problematic knees.

    Train With a Friend

    Sometimes, two is better than one, and if you’re finding it hard to get motivated and back into exercising, this phrase certainly rings true. Heading to the gym or going out on a run with a friend who is having similar feelings of doubt is a fantastic way to get you both active again. Now you won’t just be letting yourself down if you back out of an exercise session, you’ll be cancelling on them, too. Sharing words of encouragement and swapping tips will be a godsend, plus it’s always more bearable approaching what seems like an impossible task alongside someone else, and more fun, too.

    Stay Hydrated

    We’re sure you don’t need us to tell you that it’s important to drink water while you’re exercising, but a reminder of what the benefits are won’t hurt. If you are dehydrated, your energy levels will decrease and you’ll feel more tired much faster, which is partly down to the fact that muscle tissue is made up of high levels of water. Your heart will have to work even harder to supply your body with oxygen while you sweat out the fluids your body already holds. To put it simply, having access to water is vital as you ease into the familiarity of regular exercise, especially as you’re likely to be feeling the effects quicker than you used to.

    For runners, it can be tricky to keep a bottle of water handy as many people don’t like holding one in their hands or wearing a bag. The Ultimate Performance Stockghyll Force Hydration & Nutrition Waistpack presents a hands-free easy-access solution to this problem, by offering the wearer a place to store a water bottle plus any energy gels or snack bars.

    Try Something Different: Variety is Key

    Inspire yourself to get back into an exercise routine by adding a new sport or workout technique into the mix. Cross-training is particularly popular with runners and refers to the method of including exercises and activities from different sports and disciplines than the one you are training in or are used to. If swimming or cycling aren’t your usual workout of choice, give them a go, cross-training can help improve overall performance in the long run, as different sports can increase the strength of different muscles and target particular weak areas which aren’t addressed by the same old exercises. Or why not try out yoga or Pilates to improve your flexibility and balance? If you’re not so eager to return to a mundane routine, a fresh new outlook could make all the difference.

    Cool Down; Take Care of Yourself

    You’ve probably heard of DOMS and if not, you’ve almost certainly experienced it. Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness describes the ache and tenderness you may feel in your muscles after exercising, whether it is from a particularly vigorous session which you may not be used to or simply because you haven’t exercised in a while and your body is remembering how it feels. In some cases it may simply be unavoidable as your muscles readjust, but a cool-down session will go some way in helping stave off the dreaded DOMS as you get stuck into an exercise routine.

    Itֳ all about muscle recovery post-exercise, and you shouldnִ be afraid of receiving a helping hand. The 1000 Mile Ultimate Compression Socks do just that Рthe gentle compression technology minimises muscle fatigue, soreness and swelling.

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