With many people discovering new lockdown exercise regimes, and with gyms set to reopen, taking steps to prevent injury is more important than ever.
And so Owen Hutchins, founder and fitness expert from MyVitalMetrics, and Gary Swift, from GolfSupport, has offered his advice for adapting exercise regimes so you reduce your risk of injury and ease yourself back into working out in the gym.
- Transfer your workouts back to the gym gradually: The potential for higher resistances and weights at the gym is far greater than most home workouts, so you should allow time to see how your body is adapting to them. If you were working out three times per week at home, for the first week, just transfer one workout to the gym and complete the other two at home. In the second week, take two at the gym, and one at home, and in the third week, you’ll be comfortable at the gym. Take what you used to do in one workout and reduce by at least a third. Your body has changed over lockdown and it may take a few workouts to gain back the muscle memory and strength it once had. If you’ve not been active, it may take a bit longer as your body would have lost muscle.
- Go with your usual workout plan but be prepared to be flexible: Under the new rules, your gym may not be the place you left in March – some equipment may be closed off or moved to aid social distancing, you may be time limited, you may be required to thoroughly clean each piece of equipment you use and you might be limited to a single area. All of these can be frustrating to those who like to go with a plan, so mentally prepare yourself for an unfamiliar environment. While in the gym, write down the equipment you can’t use from your previous workout plan and think about replacement exercises.
- Try not to change too much else: Going back to the gym itself is a big shake-up for the body, so try to limit any other changes – try to keep your diet consistent, get plenty of rest and plenty of water. Also, try to keep a hold of whatever good habits you were able to eke out over lockdown. If that meant you went on an outdoor walk everyday, try to keep this up, as not only will it keep you doing some light activity, it’s great for your mental health as well.
- Monitor your progress: Keeping track of your progress is one of the most important aspects of the gym. Downloading apps is one of the easiest ways to help you plan and track your gym sessions to ensure you make the most out of your time. Some of the top recommended apps include HeavySet, Strongly and GymBoook. Without monitoring your improvements, it’s a lot more difficult to track your gains.
- Try to avoid peak times: Gym fanatics have waited months for this day to come, so July 25 is expected to be an extremely busy day for the centres. But no one likes a busy gym, especially when social distancing measures are being implemented and crowds are being monitored. Therefore, it would be best to wait a few days for the hype to die down to avoid having an unenjoyable experience, or even being turned away.