Now that restrictions are easing, I’m sure most of you are very excited to resume your normal gym routine and return to your previous exercise regimes. Whilst this is very exciting, and exercise is indeed the best thing for our bodies, I am here to tell you to start slowly and build yourself back up.
Commonly, injuries are caused by overloading body tissues that aren’t equipped to deal with the activity you’re trying to complete. Ever seen a dad try to outsprint his 17 year old son and tear a hamstring because he hasn’t sprinted in about ten years? Then you know what I’m talking about!
Now apply the same principle to yourself. If you were lifting weights and performing high intensity exercise such as cross-fit or attending F45 before the lockdowns, but during the lockdown you were only able to go for light walks or jogs, don’t be surprised when you become more sore following a session than you have ever been pre-lockdown.
This is because your body has adapted to a different form of exercise, and the muscles and soft tissues will find it harder to deal with the same loads that they used to deal with.
So, how can you prevent an injury from occurring?
The first thing to do is ensure that you complete a thorough warm-up before commencing exercise. This must include some form of cardio e.g. walking or jogging to get your heart rate up and blood flowing around the body, dynamic stretching to move your muscles through a range of motion and get them ready to perform exercise, and exercises that target the muscles you want to be focusing on (this could include leg extensions or body weight squats when warming up for a leg day at the gym for example).
The next thing to do is ensure that you are not returning to the same intensity that you were completing before the lockdown. If you were squatting 100kg at the gym, but during the lockdown only had access to a total of 10kg, don’t immediately go back to 100kg, start from a lower weight and build your way back up. You may feel fine afterwards, but you need to get your core stability muscles used to lifting heavy weights before you attempt to do so. This also applies for returning to group classes. On the first session back, take your time completing exercises, don’t max yourself out on the first go, because it will take you longer to recover.
That brings us to the third and final point. Ensure you are allowing time in your exercise regime for recovery. If you weren’t exercising frequently during the lockdown, maybe returning to the gym to exercise every day isn’t the best thing for you. Organise your days so that you have planned rest days, and organise your sessions so that you aren’t training the same thing two days in a row. The general rule of thumb is to allow 72 hours of recovery before you repeat the same exercise again.
That being said, I hope you all have a fun time returning to the gym, and enjoy setting new fitness goals to achieve and smash! If you do start to experience some pain or symptoms that are outside your normal level of comfort, please make sure you give us a ring so that we can get you back to exercising safely, whilst still optimising your sessions!
Alyza is the creator of our foam roller class and glute med strengthening classes: to purchase these, with lifetime access, go here