If you are considering adding to your typical amount of daily physical activity, it should only be done if you do not have any pain or injuries. Adding physical activities under such circumstances will only increase your likelihood of injury or exacerbate any injury you may already have. Instead, seek professional advice before adding anything extra to your routine in the case of an existing ailment or injury.

Too much physical activity all at once can also be a cause of injury. Instead, you should slowly increase the amount of physical activity. To do so, use the 10% method.

If you have not been doing any planned physical activity, (or at least not consistently) start with a small amount at a low intensity (e.g. 10 minutes 3 days/week). Then use the 10% increase approach when you are ready to add minutes or intensity. If you have currently been engaged in regular planned physical activity and are looking to increase, start with a 10% addition in the duration of activity. This is a conservative and safe approach to progressing your physical activity. (10% increase examples: walk 100 minutes/week increase to 110 minutes/week or walk 3 miles/week increase to 3.3 miles/week.)

Once you start slowly increasing by 10% (includes time, distance, intensity, and resistance) you can reassess at the end of each week. It may be appropriate to increase 10% weekly but at other points, you may need to stick with an increased level for several weeks or more. As you increase the time, distance, intensity, or resistance of your physical activity, your body will need enough time to recover. Listen to your body and the feedback it is giving you. If you are sore and tired, let your body adjust before you even think about adding more.

Proper hydration, nutrition, stretching, and sometimes icing and heating are necessary to help your body recover and adapt to the new level of increased physical activity.

The 10% Method in Action

Week 1

3 mile run

Week 2

3.3 mile run

Week 3

3.63 mile run

Week 4

4 mile run

Hopefully these tips helped! Follow OPPfitness for more great ways to get and stay in shape.