Returning to the gym after over two months of shut down can be an exciting time, but, keep in mind that it is important to take care of your body during the process. Oftentimes, we miss a week of our typical gym routine due to vacations and other priorities, and when this happens we return to the gym at the same pace and usual resistance with minimal repercussions. Since the pandemic began and gyms were shut down, some of us created an at-home gym, while some of us took the time to do other forms of exercise (e.g., yard work, spring cleaning, etc.). Either way, while we return to the gym “post-covid” we need to be mindful of a number of factors to minimize risk of injury.
Here are some things be aware of as you start back into the gym, or even if you are just getting started on your fitness journey!
- Stretching: beneficial for a warm up before you work out to prepare your muscles for any sort of exercise, as well as after an exercise session for recovery of muscle tissue. You can use a foam roller as well as a good muscle recovery tool! Allowing the body to warm up before exercise encourages blood circulation and delivers oxygen and nutrients to these areas of the body.
- Low and Slow: if doing any resistance/weight training, we shouldn’t expect to jump back into the same weights, find an appropriate level to start at and then progressively increase by ~10% increments as necessary with each session. If necessary, lower your repetitions as well.
- Hydration: it is summer after all! Keeping hydrated with plenty of water throughout the regular day and during workouts is important. Water helps to regulate body temperature and maintain performance so we can get the most out of each workout.
- Rest days: Not everyday can be leg day! It is important to allow your body the time it needs to rest and recover. This can provide your body with the opportunity to energize, as well as your muscles to rebuild tissue.
- Listen to your body: don’t push yourself to the point of exhaustion right off the bat. If something does not feel good, what is it that you need? Is it stretching, a change in weight/resistance, hydration, a rest day, or something different? It is very important to do what feels best for your body in order to minimize the risk of injury.
This has been a challenging time both mentally and physically, be gentle on your body as your mind also needs to slowly progress back into exercise as it has been an exhausting few months. If you’re concerned about returning to the gym or if you would like to begin your gym experience for the first time, a kinesiologist might be who you are looking for!