For many of us, the closure of gyms and fitness facilities has had us yearning to get back training. Many people kept up great habits and adapted with outdoor, home or zoom workouts and some completely stopped all together. Now with facilities back open and fitness events being re-scheduled; it's vital we take proper care to ensure it all goes to plan.
We have some strong advice to all returning to training. If you took an extended period of time away- START SLOWLY. Loading the body with too much too soon (resistance or aerobic exercise) is a sure-fire way to quickly develop musculoskeletal injuries, niggles and pains. There simply cannot be an expectation that the workouts that were completed before COVID are going the be able to be performed now, especially if there has been an extended period between training. Reduce the total load of weight sessions up to 50% of what was previously lifted, then slowly build back up. Doing this will allow the body to re-accustom itself to enduring load and quickly build back up its former strength, power and endurance. Going straight back to 100% of previous load will likely cause injury and force even more time out from training. Working alongside your trainer and following a structured plan of progression will likely be the smoothest transition back to full fitness.
Lockdown also brought out some different injuries than what was previously commonly seen from health practitioners. With the rise of people working from home and being forced to stay home, inactivity and working from uncomfortable makeshift offices have seen a rise in sore shoulders/upper back, sore lower back/tight hamstrings and even more tennis elbow! By effectively rehabilitating these communicating regularly with physio and your trainer, this can be fixed and feeling back to normal in no time.
A positive from time away from gyms saw people learning to adapt and implement different training into their life. With the reduced access to training facilities, we have seen people walking/jogging/bike riding more than ever before. There has also been an increase in stretching, mobility and foam rolling. These low-moderate intensity and recovery activities are the perfect complement to any fitness or resistance training regime! The positive habits picked up during lockdown need to stay! By foam rolling or trigger balling just a few times per week, we see a drastic decrease in injury, soreness and increase in flexibility and strength. Being able to recover quicker with these utensils allows us to progress quicker and back to full fitness. 75% of all cardio based activity should be of a low-moderate intensity, so those bikes purchased during lockdown need to stay used ongoing! By combining low-moderate exercise with fresh air and Vitamin D, our training week stays enjoyable and hugely beneficial!
Like the saying goes "Exercise made fun gets done" and by ensuring you follow the above principles; not only will exercise stay fun but you will actually be able to stay injury free long enough to keep doing it!