How to ease back into exercise after Lockdown

nb remedial massage_gym

The gyms have been open for a few months now (or are they closed again? Oh wait…they are open this month), there’s no excuses left to avoid getting back into exercise as soon as possible. Except that it’s pretty cold in winter and your muscles are pretty tight. Besides that, you’re good to go right?


Not exactly. The risk of injury increases when muscles are no longer conditioned for exercise. In fact, the greatest number of soft tissue injuries that I treat, are a result of going too hard too fast (after a previous injury or an exercise hiatus).

The body needs time to ease back into exercise, particularly if you were exercising at a high level before Covid restricted you from working out. The last thing you want is an injury too soon, particularly because a soft tissue injury is the hardest to treat and takes the longest to heal.

Here is how to ease back into exercise after a period of hiatus.

Stretching

Stretching is always a good idea before and after exercise, however you may find your range of motion is restricted when muscles are tight. Don’t push yourself based on your normal level of flexibility and strength, or you may end up causing injury because of an over-stretched muscle.

Start with gentle stretches and slowly build your flexibility back up over time. Hold the stretches longer and focus on what your body is telling you. If you need to stop short because of pain, then stop. Stretching shouldn’t be painful.

 Exercise Level

Always begin with light exercise such as running, cycling or pilates. Going straight into an RPM class or TRX class without stretching or warm up, will just destroy your chances for an injury-free come back and set you back even further.

Set yourself goals such as training twice per week and working up to four days, or focus more on cardio and weights before working back into circuit training.

Support

If you have a previous injury or particularly weak muscle, it is always good to support the area with strapping or bracing. Compression not only keeps the pain level low, but it keeps your focus on the muscle so you don’t over-do it.

Areas that tend to get weak from inactivity include wrists, knees, ankles and shoulders. Wrist and knee support is recommended for getting back into weights.

Personal Training

Whenever you are unsure about how to set new goals or just need motivation, the best option is to see your personal trainer. Find a trainer who specialises in injury rehabilitation if you have a pre-existing injury. Even if you don’t have an old injury, it is good to have the guidance and support of someone who is trained to accommodate all levels of fitness.

Massage Therapist

Keep your massage therapist on speed dial, because you are going to get pretty sore. Easing back into exercise won’t be easy, but it will be rewarding once you get past the initial stages. Massage will help to ease pain, reduce risk of injury and increase range of motion whilst you are on your journey back to peak physical condition. Book a massage with me today!