More than a third of people who started a fitness drive in January will have stopped or reduced their amount of exercise within a month, according to latest research – and given the amount of injuries and subsequent absence that can accompany suddenly throwing yourself into an exercise regime that may be no bad thing.
A survey by Arthritis Research UK and the Chartered Society of Physiotherapy has concluded that more than a third of New Year fitness drives falter by February.
The poll, which analysed what happened to such New Year’s resolutions last year, found the most common reason for giving up or scaling back on fitness was a loss of interest (37%) followed by lack of time (33%) and the fact that it was cold outside (32%).
In fact just a third of those who started a fitness drive last January said they were still exercising.
While, clearly, getting or staying fit is better for most people’s health than spending all your time slumped on the sofa, it’s also true that suddenly throwing yourself into a fitness regime when you are not used to it can backfire if you are not careful.
For example, research last year by physiotherapy provider Physio Med concluded that New Year health and fitness resolutions were responsible for a huge spike in musculo-skeletal disorders and subsequent absence from work.
Spike in physio
It found requests for physio¬therapy appointments increased dramatically in March and April, with 89% of the physiotherapists who responded naming injuries related to exercise and sport as one of the most common reasons for people to seek treatment at this time.
Nearly half of cases were caused by people overestimating their ability and pushing themselves too far, with 27% not following correct fitness techniques or failing to use gym equipment properly, and 12% blaming a lack of warm-up exercises.
The three most common injuries as a result were: lower back pain, neck or upper back pain and shoulder pain.
So the message for employees here? Slow and steady rather than a mad gallop generally wins the race when it comes to building up and sustaining fitness levels.