With indoor and outdoor sports and fitness classes returning, The Lewin Sports Injury Clinic share guidance on returning to sport after some time off
After many months of grassroots and community sports being ’on pause’, with gyms and fitness classes all closed, we can begin to look forward to the brighter, longer days, and a welcome return to sport. For many the last year or so will have seen a substantial disruption to your daily routines, working, exercising and possibly schooling from home. So, we want to share some helpful hints and tips to those of you who are looking forward to getting back to training after months off.
We all know the physical and mental benefits of exercise, so the return to sport on 29 March has been welcomed by so many. The Government roadmap with the easing of restrictions has remained on target, which now means that indoor gyms and classes can also return – allowing many to get back to their chosen activity.
It can be tempting to pick up where you left off, or to try and squeeze in that bit more into your day now that the weather is improving and days are longer. However, we advise taking your time when you return to sport, approaching your new training schedule slowly and setting realistic goals. Over the past few months, you may have only been training a few times, if at all, so it’s advisable to not switch straight into physical activity several times a week, all of a sudden.
Those spikes in load should be avoided because this is where the risk of injury increases. Start with two to three training sets a week, during which you focus on the correct technique. It’s better to accept your current (lower) level of fitness and concentrate on small steps such as:
- Training two to three times a week for the first few weeks of returning to exercise
- Good eating habits adapted to more regular training
- Drinking more water to ensure you’re hydrated
- Focus on the regularity of training more than the quantity (e.g better three times for one hour than one or two times for two to two and a half hours)
- You could also look at incorporating more subtle but meaningful opportunities for physical activities into your normal day – for example taking the steps rather than escalators or lifts.
And if something should go wrong and you pick up a niggle or bigger problem, it’s better to get seen sooner rather than later so that you can adjust your levels of activity, strengthen and get back to the sport you love sooner.