With a COVID normal closing in, many typical ways of life slowly return. The recent return of gyms, exercise and sport, combined with the improved weather is a much-needed boost to the community. But, whilst we are all very excited to be returning to exercise, we must be careful not to overdo it or injure ourselves.
Unfortunately, during COVID-19, our level of fitness has diminished and although some of us have maintained it, the majority have not. Time is needed to build to our previous fitness levels, whether you want to get back to lifting a particular weight, run/swim/ride a certain distance or time or even just regaining skill levels for your chosen sport. Implementing a structured plan means we can decrease the risk of injury and ensure a smooth transition back to fitness.
So, if you are starting to re-engage back into some form of fitness or exercise – consider these tips to help decrease the possible likelihood of injury and/or pain.
An often-overlooked part of exercising – an active warm-up focusing on muscle activation and stretching specific to your session. E.g. Push-ups are a good warm-up before a shoulder/chest workout.
Start Small and Be Smart
Whilst your return to exercise may spark some confidence, it is recommended that you do not jump straight into your pre-COVID-19 fitness plan or activities. If you have had limited exercise during the COVID-19 lockdowns, ease yourself back into exercise. That means, if you lifted 20kg or ran 3km every day pre-COVID-19, you should avoid rushing straight into that exact level of exercise. A good rule of thumb is halving or starting at 50% lower e.g. lifting 10 kg, or running 1.5kms.
Seek Professional Advice
Obtain some expert opinions before/during your return to training, whether it is getting a personal trainer to develop a suitable program or an osteopath to run you through exercises and exercise strategies.
Overload / Increase Gradually
Pace yourself, gradually increasing exercise, lower everything including sets, reps, amount of days training, distance covered. From there, slowly increase over the first 4-6 weeks as you gradually build back to pre-COVID-19 levels, always remembering rest days are as important as exercise days for your body to adapt and recover.
Our body needs to recover to adapt and build towards long term goals. Stretching, cooldowns, hydration, nutrition are all important in recovery.
Osteopathic treatment can also help the body recover, addressing any compensation, strains, or tightness your body may be developing.
If you’d like advice on returning to your physical activities, let us know! The team here at HealthLinks Gippsland are always here to lend a hand or two when it comes to getting you active, healthy and strong! Contact us today and you’ll be returning to exercise before you know it!