Every single member of the South African Society of Physiotherapy wishes you a wonderful and happy holiday season – here’s hoping our quick tips will help you avoid injury, discomfort and pain that could spoil your precious time off!

1. Take it slowly
On holiday, we plunge into a world of physical activity after months of sedentary work and exercise only at the gym. Going too hard at activities your body isn’t used to – from gardening to mountain biking – can cause stiffness and even injury.

2. Be alert to strain on unused muscles and joints – and slow down at the first sign of lasting discomfort!
Cycling: watch your hips, thighs and knees – if you’re not used to cycling, the tissues stretching from the pelvis to the knee, can take strain
Surfing: if you only get a chance to surf once or twice a year, overdoing it can be hard on your shoulders and neck.
Hiking: if unaccustomed, and you push too hard, you could experience pain in the knees and exacerbation of existing problems like arthritis in joints.
Running: running on sand is great exercise, but going too hard and long on soft sand can strain the calf muscles. Always aim to run near the water’s edge where the sand is firmer.
Swimming: one of the gentlest and kindest exercises – but build your swimming time up gradually. That first burst could give you aching shoulder and knees.

Enjoy exercising and having fun in the break – just work within your body’s limits, build up time and distance gradually, and take time out to enjoy the view. Happy holidays!