Returning to Exercise after COVID…..

It’s been a long year for many, and for many we’ve been forced (or not…) to decrease our physical activity, gym and team sports. There’s now light at the end of the tunnel! 

Here at Sports & Spinal Albury Wodonga we’re here to help you get back to your best. I know a lot of people who tend to throw themselves into things at 100%, for the sake of your injuries don’t be that person! 

Over the last few months of neglecting usual exercise you will have become deconditioned, whether it be strength, endurance or cardiovascular you won’t be able to pick up where you left off. 

So how do I start safely exercising? 

  • Give yourself plenty of time! Allow for an efficient and safe warm up. Make it dynamic and relevant to your chosen activity. 
  • Ease into it. Each individual aspect of your training, whether it be weights, running or skills sessions. Don’t go tearing a muscle because you’ve been impatient
  • Focus on technique. Don’t train in bad habits, because bad habits are hard to break!
  • Give yourself rest. Your body needs to readapt to the load of training. Running and smashing out weights 5 days a week will be counterproductive if you have to miss 3 months because of a tendon injury!
  • Nutrition. Give your body the fuel and hydration it needs. A well balanced diet and adequate water levels is vital for optimum body recovery. 

  • Listen to your body. If you’re fatigued in the early stages of returning to everything don’t push through that barrier yet, that’s your body telling you to ease up just a little!
  • Seek advice. If you’re unsure on what to do, our team of skilled therapists have all trained and played locally for a number of years. We’ve all learnt (sometimes the hard way…) how to progress a training program, and can help with any niggles along the way 

 

Don’t forget to train your mobility as well!

  • As mentioned above a dynamic warm up should be a part of every exercise regime, but equally so, but far more often ignored is a cool down. This cool down phase is where we can do some static stretching and a slow jog/walk/ride before we go and sit on the couch or the desk. 
  • Sports people often will spend time stretching calves, hamstrings and quads. Weightlifters spend heaps of time stretching pecs, lats and glutes….. But not enough people mobilise their spine! You can’t fire a cannon from a canoe! Strengthen your trunk!

Don’t ignore body weight exercises!

  • You don’t need fancy equipment or a huge amount of time to move your own body. There are many body weight exercises that will be a great starting point to your training, but also a great way to maintain body control and balance when you’re back to full fitness. 
  • Some great exercises to start with and to master include:
  • Calf Raises – Every runner, jumper and athlete should build their calves in both strength and endurance. Simply find a wall or something in front of you to balance, and lift your heels off the ground, focusing your driving point as the big toe. Lift your heels as high as they go, pause and then drop back down. If you can make sure you do them one leg at a time!
  • Push ups – An underrated exercise, because everyone can do it, we just have to find your starting point. If you lack upper body strength or shoulder control start against a wall, gravity and your legs can support you here. More experienced lifters can do traditional push ups or even elevate their legs. If you’re somewhere in the middle start on your knees and slowly walk them further away until you do them on your toes! 
  • Lunges – Not everyone’s favourite exercise but a great way to build leg strength and hip control. If you struggle for strength just make your stride shorter, or don’t go down to full range. 
  • Squats – There’s so many varieties of squats that you can do, for starters just do what’s comfortable for you. Go to depth that you know you can push yourself back up from. It can help looking at your technique in the mirror – make sure you’re not favouring one side too much! Just make sure your heels are one the ground and you drive through them. Your depth and strength will increase quickly!

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