Returning to the gym after coronavirus.
Now that gym and exercise groups are slowly returning, it is very tempting to launch yourself back into a full exercise routine!
But it is worth knowing that after a period of extended rest or reduced activity there are some very simple tips that you should consider in order to prevent injury.
- Weight gain. The average Australian has gained weight over the Corona period lockdown. Gaining weight can occur due a change in eating habits but also can be a symptom of stress! Read more about stress here. Weight gain can place additional pressure on joints and tendons as you return to are impact or aerobic exercise such as running. This may mean you have to reduce your running volume and not to return to her pre-Covid intensity and slowly build up! We can suggest for any impact or aerobic exercise that involves impact such as running, that you try interval training to slowly build up your volume. This might look like a 100m jog followed by a 100m walk and repeating this process to complete your run in the first week to 2 weeks. It’s advisable to reduce your volume and intensity by 30-40% of what you are managing prior to the lockdown and slowly increase your volume and intensity by 10% each week in order to prevent impact related injury. Like to read more about healthy eating habits? Click here.
- Loss of strength. It it’s quite surprising how quickly you can lose strength after a period of reduced activity. Even a simple cold or flu that results in a week to 2 weeks reduced activity can result in a loss of strength. If you have not been using weights like you were prior to Covid, it is advisable when you return to the gym, not to expect to return to your previous resistance work at the same level. For the first few sessions simply drop this to 60-70% of what you we are managing prior to the lock down period. That way you can work on slowly building on repetitions and ensuring good form before gradually increasing your resistance training by 10% each week.
- Posture. Many of us in the lockdown period have spent more time at a computer in a poor work environment- such as on the dining room table or coffee table! Watch this short video clip here to learn physio tips to set up your home office! Poor work station set up and prolonged sitting can result in tightness through the shoulders and neck as well as a loss of optimal posture. Prolonged sitting can also contribute to hip joint restriction and lower back pain. Any loss of joint mobility and postural changes can contribute to poor form in the gym! Our advice is start back at the gym with a dynamic warmup (such as walking lunges or even five minutes on the bike to increase your heart rate) followed by a good stretch routine to ensure joint mobility and good posture. Try this routine to improve your posture here. Then start back at your weights routine ensuring that you have good technique! Sometimes asking for help with a good trainer in order to ensure your technique is optimal can help.
- Loss of coordination and agility. A simple rest period can mean that we don’t practice skills that we normally do on a daily basis, which can reduce our coordination and agility. For example if you are a soccer player, a football player or enjoy any team sport, you require not only physical fitness and strength, but you also require coordination and agility. So before returning to group sports it’s advisable to spend some time building on your agility once more. This could look like shuttle runs, simple ball skills such as kicking, throwing, catching and balance. This kind of training can ensure that when you return to your sport that you have good coordination skills to prevent injury.
It’s always advisable to work slowly back into activity as we often underestimate our loss of strength, endurance, cardio-vascular fitness and agility! It won’t take long to return to fitness however taking your time and ensuring adequate warm up as well as a slow return to your previous condition will help prevent injury.
Read more HERE about the most common gym injuries we see and how to avoid them!
Our team here at Synergy Physio offer expert knowledge and physiotherapy. We love helping our patients prevent injury, manage pain and return to doing the things they love!
Don’t let pain or injury limit your life, we are here to help you.