Getting back to the gym without injury
With gyms reopening and sports teams getting back to playing games, we will all be getting
more active over the next few weeks. However rushing into exercise after a break could
cause injury so we’ve put together some helpful advice to get you back to fitness safely.
Whether you’re heading out for a casual round of golf or taking up crossfit, making sure you
get back into exercise slowly will protect you from injury. Gyms have been closed for a while
and even if you’ve got some dumbbells, resistance bands and other workout equipment at
home, it’s unlikely that you’ve been able to do the exact same thing as you would in a gym.
Stretch it out
Before doing any exercise, it is so important to stretch your muscles and warm up properly.
Going from sitting very still to an intense workout is a high risk way to pick up an injury and
make yourself feel worse.
Warming up is important but so is warming down and giving your muscles a chance to relax.
After any exercise, take time to walk, stretch and even take a sauna or steam if your gym
has one available. This all helps to keep your muscles supple and reduces lactic acid.
Fuel your body
Have you indulged in a few takeaways over lockdown? Eating unhealthy food is fine as a
treat but before a workout it is important to make sure your body is given the right fuel.
This doesn’t mean you need expensive protein shakes or pre-workout powders, just making
sure you have a healthy, balanced meal around two hours before exercise can help you get
the most from your exercise.
Some great workout foods are:
– Lean protein such as chicken or turkey
– Fruits and vegetables
Before and during your workout make sure to stay well hydrated. If you know you’re going to
be doing a particularly intensive workout, or if you’re sweating a lot, you can add isotonic
drinks or natural electrolyte replacements such as coconut water.
Even the fittest amongst us will have lost some overall muscle tone or cardio through the last
14 months. You might have hit the pavements and done calisthenics at home but that will
work out a different muscle group to the static equipment you use in gyms.
If you do find yourself unable to bench what you used to, or the number of reps you can do
goes down, don’t be hard on yourself. Recognise where you feel comfortable and gradually
work out a plan to increase your weight, cardio or set to get back to where you were pre-
Don’t be tempted to push yourself to lift what you did pre-Covid or run as far as you used to
on your first workout. Doing this will likely lead to you pulling muscles or worse, giving
yourself an injury that will completely prevent you from exercising at all.
If you were reasonably fit before 2020, then you will still have a good level of residual fitness.
This means it won’t take as long to get back to your best as it would if you’d never exercised.
So don’t be disheartened, keep building up your routine carefully and gradually with rest
days in between activities and you will get there.
Diversify your workout
It can be tempting to stick to one area of your body or run for 30 minutes to try and lose as
much weight as possible but a diverse workout is better for your body and overall health.
While you’ve probably heard of people hitting the gym for “leg day” or focusing on the upper
body, an overall workout should be tailored to give maximum results with minimum impact.
Running is an excellent cardio workout but if you run every day without recovery time, you’ll
soon start to notice pain or even injuries in your knees and ankles. This type of high impact
workout is good for weight loss but can be hard on your joints. Add in some Pilates, Yoga or
other joint-stabilising exercises to give your body a good foundation and protect your joints.
Speak to the professionals
If your gym has dedicated staff available, ask for help. Speak to them about your fitness
goals, what sort of exercises you’ve done through lockdown and any problem areas you
have. You can work with them to come up with a tailored plan to get yourself back to peak
We’ve all spent more time sitting down, exercising in ways we wouldn’t usually (even over
Zoom!) and living very different lifestyles to 2019. This may have given you muscle cramping
or neck strains from long days in front of a computer or stress can also make you feel more
Chiropractic treatment can help bring balance back to your body and protect against any
injuries. By identifying where you are out of alignment and correcting it, you can make sure
you get the most from your workouts and protect against any injuries.
If you’ve taken a break from exercise and want to get back to the gym, book a consultation
by calling 02082951733.
Filed Under: Health Tips
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