Returning to Exercise Safely Post Lockdown
August 28, 2020
Key tips for a safe return to fitness post lockdown
After a few months of gyms and swimming pools being closed and due to travel restrictions, you may have found that your usual activity levels have reduced, or you’ve had to change the type of exercise you do through home workouts or online classes.
It is understandable to feel uncertain as to how to return to ‘normal’ and increase your post lockdown exercise levels or get back to your previous activity.
Following any period of reduced activity, it is important to return gradually in order to prevent risk of injury.
Here are some key factors to consider when returning to a specific sport or generally increasing your exercise level:
- Remember that you will likely have lost some fitness, so you shouldn’t expect to be able to start where you left off at the same intensity or duration of exercise. VO2 Max levels may be reduced up to 15% by having just 4 weeks of inactivity.
- This means that as you’re getting started again, you should reduce how hard you are working and/or how long you are working for – this will allow your body to gradually adapt to starting the exercise again.
- Gradual build up is key! As you start to increase what you are doing, make sure you only increase one thing at a time in terms of intensity and duration. For example, if you increase how hard you are working in a session, keep the duration of the session the same or less.
- General rule of thumb is to increase the volume, duration, or intensity by approximately 10% per week.
- If using weights, begin with a lighter weight than you were previously using and increase slowly.
- Give yourself enough recovery time in between exercise sessions – initially allow 1-3 days depending on the session intensity. For example, if doing a high intensity workout, you may need the full 3 days to recover before completing the same session.
- Use ‘active recovery’ in between harder sessions or on rest days – this could be walking, an easy swim, or a round of golf for example. This helps the body to recover whilst also keeping active, reducing post exercise soreness and stiffness.
- It is best to try and include a variety of exercise into your week – flexibility, strengthening and cardiovascular training are all important for overall fitness and health, so try to include at least one of each of these into your week.
- If you are returning to a specific sport, ensure you include sport specific drills to reduce the risk of injury.
If you do have any injuries or pain during post lockdown exercise, whether it is sports related or not, our Physiotherapists can help. Get in touch on 0333 2200 238 or email firstname.lastname@example.org for an appointment or further advice.