So many people are so excited that gyms are reopening across Australia as coronavirus restrictions ease.
Now, before we pick up the kettlebell once again, we might need to be cautious. During the last 12 weeks, a lot of us have been more sedentary than before and some of us working from home have missed out on basic exercise such as walking to the bus stop.
When we exercise less, our physical condition declines, which may increase the risk of injury. So how can we return to the gym safely?
What is deconditioning?
Us humans are bioplastic. That means we respond to what we do with our bodies. Usually, our body responds positively to exercise: we get fitter and stronger, and our mental and physical health improves. Yet, when we stop being active, our physical condition declines. This is known as “deconditioning”. Research has shown substantial decline in muscle mass, physical function, strength, aerobic capacity and metabolic function can occur in as little as 10 days of inactivity.
Are there risks?
As deconditioning can be fast, reconditioning the body can take a little longer. As we return to the gym we might feel like our muscles are “tighter” and we’re breathing more heavily or we feel that our joints are stiff. These are all normal signs that should improve after a few workouts.
But engaging in high-intensity movements or increasing loads too quickly can be a risk for injury. A lot of people think they can continue training where they were before COVID19 without considering the reduced capacity of their body.
Work your way back into it
To help prevent injury, it is recommended that you ease back into your training. Maybe reducing your intensity or load to 70-80% of your pre-pandemic efforts for a few weeks. If you’re used to doing a 100kg deadlift, consider starting at around 70kg and building gradually from there.
Make sure to use a specific warm-up for the exercise you do. For example, if you are doing bench press, warm up by doing them without weights before progressing to using your desired weight.
Why am I so sore?
Common aches and pains have many causes, and are not always the result of injury. Also, complete rest isn’t always the best way to manage them. This is particularly the case for common problems such as back pain.
We often think we should lie on the couch if we have a sore back. But it is often safe and beneficial to continue some activity within your limits while your body heals. If you do feel pain throughout or after exercise, recognise in the majority of cases, your body will heal quickly with no lasting problems. It’s normal for back pain and muscle strains to take a few weeks to resolve.
However, if your pain gets increasingly worse over a few days it’s highly recommended to get it checked out by a health professional. Give us a call on 9948 2826 or BOOK ONLINE
Remember, the benefits of exercise far outweigh the potential risks when getting back into the gym. Your enthusiasm just needs to be tempered with a realistic view of your current condition, not the memory of your ability three months ago.