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Start the new year by kick starting your exercise goals! 

Whilst the new year might be a good time to change some habits or try some new things, it is also an important time to be mindful of optimising physical preparation for activities and being proactive with managing any injuries. Working with your physiotherapist around specific strategies to maximise your performance will ensure you are able to participate with confidence for the year ahead!

Prevention is Key

Individuals of any athletic ability can benefit from proactive strategies to minimise injury risk and maximise performance. Physiotherapy has a pivotal role to play in assessing and addressing any areas of muscle weakness, tightness and suboptimal movement patterns that could predispose to injury. Your physiotherapist will conduct an individualised assessment taking into consideration your specific sport or activity, level of physical condition and any current or previous injuries. Your physiotherapist can then identify areas that would benefit from specific strengthening and flexibility exercises and can prescribe exercises to target key muscle groups and joints. 

Physical Preparation and Recovery

Physiotherapists also have an important role to play in educating individuals about the importance of warm-up and cool-down strategies to optimise physical preparation and recovery. 

  • Before commencing any physical activity, ensuring specific muscles and joints are appropriately warmed-up is important. Incorporating some dynamic stretching and mobility exercises specifically targeting the trunk, upper and lower limbs are recommended.
  • A graded introduction into activity is recommended. Gradually increase the frequency, intensity and volume of training sessions over time to allow for optimal adaptation and recovery of muscles and tendons in between exposures to activity. 
  • Consider other cross training modalities for variety and to break up impact activity i.e., cycling and swimming as alternatives to running to increase cardiovascular fitness.

Soft Tissue Injury Management Strategies

Rehabilitation of soft tissue injuries can be complex. Comprehensive rehabilitation should focus not only on the acute stages, but on the whole injury continuum including the subacute and long-term stages of tissue healing. 

  1. Immediately after an injury, the focus for the first 1-3 days should be on doing no further harm and protecting the injured area to minimise bleeding and decrease the risk of further aggravation.1 
  2. Elevate the limb higher than the heart to manage swelling and promote the flow of fluid away from the area.1 
  3. There are benefits for an active approach to recovery, as pain and function allows. Exercises that are well tolerated, as well as a return to normal activities, should be the aim of the next phase as soon as symptoms allow. Optimal loading without an increase in pain promotes tissue repair and builds tissue capacity.1 
  4. Specific exercises prescribed by a physiotherapist assist in preventing injury recurrence through the restoration of strength, mobility and proprioception.1 

When it comes to sports and physical activity, adopting proactive strategies to maintain optimal health is recommended. It is important to engage in appropriate training loads, active recovery, and effective injury management strategies for sustained physical health and sports participation, through identifying injuries early and collaborating with your physiotherapist. 

Getting started with exercise can have a massive impact on your physical well-being. By incorporating regular physical activity into your routine and seeking professional guidance from a physiotherapist, you can enhance your fitness, prevent injuries, and improve your overall quality of life. Embracing this proactive approach will boost your confidence and energy levels and pave the way for a healthier and more fulfilling lifestyle. Take the first step today and embark on this rewarding journey towards a stronger, fitter, and more resilient you!


  1. Dubois B, Esculier JF. Soft-tissue injuries simply need peace and love. Br J Sports Med 2020;54.