2020 – the year where routine went out the window and COVID-19 forced the closures of gyms, national parks and sporting competitions. It is exciting to be able to get back in to the exercise and activity that we love with many people also relishing the opportunity to try something a little different. With the benefits of physical activity far outweighing the risks, there has never been a better time to start than right now. However, with a return to activity there is the risk of experiencing aches and pains as our bodies adjust to new routines – keep reading for some key tips to avoid this!
Check in with a physiotherapist
Physiotherapists are specially trained to know the ins and outs of the human body. They will be able to discuss any past injuries or current niggles that should be monitored on a return to activity. An assessment with a physiotherapist will also be able to identify any risk factors that could lead to pain or an injury in your chosen activity.
Choose something that you enjoy
Some of the benefits of regular physical activity are improved mental health, reduced risk of heart disease, weight management, lower cholesterol and blood pressure and improved sleep and energy levels. However, consistency is key in ensuring you reap the rewards. This is where choosing something you enjoy comes into it, as it leads to improved adherence and commitment. There is no limit to what type of activity this could be, as everyone is different. Some people like the motivation of a group environment, others prefer the solitude of walking or a home-based program that they can do independently.
Start slowly and progress gradually
One of the biggest mistakes people make is going too hard too soon as this can lead to injury, burn out or just simply being too sore to continue. It's key to incorporate rest days and build up the level and intensity of exercise gradually.
Don’t neglect recovery
The body takes time to adapt to the demands of a new activity, and requires periods of rest to recover and get stronger. Often muscles can feel sore the day after activity and then feel ready to go. However, our joints take a few more days before they are fully recovered and stronger. Utilising massage and other recovery tools can help to reduce muscle tension, improve blood flow and release muscles that are feeling tight in response to your new activities.
For more advice give the practice a call on 6237 0045 or book in online to see how our physiotherapists can help you get back into exercise.
Written by Liam Perryman (MPhysio, BExSc, APAM)