To the joy and excitement of many, our indoor gyms are reopening across the country as the Lockdown restrictions continue to ease.
We officially opened the doors, right in time for spring and getting our summer bodies back after a few sedentary months, thanks to lockdown.
However, before you pick up the dumbbells and jump into your running shoes, you need to be cautious. During the pandemic, many of you have been more sedentary as working from home has become our new normal.
When we exercise less, our physical condition declines, which may increase the risk of injury.
Humans are bioplastic. Meaning 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. When we stop being active, our physical condition declines. This is known as “deconditioning”.
Deconditioning can happen quickly. Studies show significant decline in muscle mass, physical function, aerobic capacity, strength, and metabolic functioning in as little as 10 days of inactivity. Long term deconditioning can cause ordinary symptoms like aches, pains, weight problems, poor posture, fatigue and feeling down in the dumps.
While deconditioning can be rapid, reconditioning the body takes a bit longer, don’t let this stop you. When you return to your physical activities or to the gym, you may feel like your muscles are tighter and you are out of breath more easily. You may feel your joints are stiff or your pain threshold has lowered. These are all normal and that should improve after a few sessions or at least after a few weeks.
Engaging in high-intensity exercise and increasing loads too quickly can be a risk for injury. Don’t assume you can jump back into your pre-covid exercise without considering deconditioning.
So how do you prepare yourself both physically and mentally to return to the gym?
- Before scheduling your gym session, check in with yourself to be sure you don’t have any niggles or posture concerns since lock down. Everyone has been sitting at different work desks, hunching over their work laptop, leading to an imbalance in posture muscles, this has been a common concern lately.
- Set realistic goals – going into the gym with a plan is important, allow your body to adjust and to focus on re-establishing healthy habits and routines. Don’t have the mindset of all or nothing, studies show that showing up for your sessions even if they are not at full effort, has lasting results due to habit formation.
- Focus on eating a well-rounded nutritious diet – important for you goal, it may be fat loss, muscle gain, blood sugar balance or endurance improvement. Nutrition is a non-negotiable piece of the puzzle.
- Hydrate – make sure your drinking enough water.
- To reduce your risk for injury be sure you do the following:
- Focus on getting at least 7-9 hours quality sleep per
- Consider reducing your intensity or load to about 60-80% of your pre-lockdown efforts for a few weeks
- Manage your stress levels
- Make sure you warm up properly before your exercise sessions
- Schedule in stretching sessions or massages to release your muscles
- Listen to your body. Watch for fatigue or muscle strain to help avoid injury.
- Consider checking in with your Biokineticist, to make sure you are ready to jump into a program. If you haven’t been very comfortable at the gym or with your workout routine now is a good time to get advice from a professional.
If you are a bit wary of the gym, I have got you covered. I am still offering exercise training sessions online via zoom and training programs via an app on your phone. You still get fit and healthy from the comfort of your home.
If you are recovering from covid, get in touch to find out how you can return to exercise safely.
September Spring specials are up and running to help you get back on track, get in touch to find out more.
Have a happy, healthy, and vibrant spring 2020