In the June issue of Fix News, we looked at starting a fitness program and we hope that you have all perhaps been motivated a little at least by that to begin something!
We mentioned a term called "pacing" to allow for you to gradually achieve your set exercise and activity goals. It is a way of turning that goal of walking, running, swimming, vacuuming the house or sitting to watch a movie into 'mini goals.' In this Fix Tip, we will explore this more.
Pacing is a simple and fail proof technique in which your goals become easier to achieve with success and confidence, but without flaring your injury or symptoms. Just think, even the elite athletes and their coaches use this technique to improve on fitness and attain world titles or records.
Pacing means the art of doing a bit more each day or occasion to gradually build strength, fitness or improve on your ability to complete activities at home or in the work place. People say that the mantra "pace it, don't race it" is a good way of remembering the technique. It is actually harder than you think and sitting down to think about it and plan your 'pacing diary' is the first step in success.
Work out your end goals. For example, "I want to sit down without pain to be able to go out and watch a movie with friends", or "I'd like to jog for 30 minutes, 3 times per week", or "I would like to run the 'City to Surf' next year". Then, find a safe baseline from which to start your diary. Ask yourself, "What would be the absolute safest duration that I could do this activity without feeling sore for hours, or even days afterward?" Then plan your progressions by doing a little more (say 20%) each occasion.
Once you have started and are moving through your 'pacing diary', the trick is to STOP where you had planned to stop for that particular day. Just because you are feeling great on that day, do not overstep your planned time for your activity. This is the hardest part, and we are all guilty of the 'boom or bust' pattern of training where we go like a bull at gate and then crash and do nothing for the next week, or ever! The other trick to remember with pacing is to NEVER STOP. Even if you feel a little sore, on the next planned day/occasion in your diary, just do a little less than you had planned- never do nothing or start at the beginning again. You will never attain your goals with this approach.
We know that pacing absolutely works for absolutely any activity, so give it a try and watch your improvements over the weeks! How motivating to see how far you can truly get with a little planning and patience.
Remember, as an added benefit to achieving your goals, exercise is a pain reliever, confidence builder and makes you feel generally a whole lot better about yourself.