The last 18 months have been like no other. The enforced inactivity of lockdown has resulted in many different challenges for us physically, mentally and socially. In this blog we will consider, as we slowly return to normality, how you can get back to sporting activity safely and avoid becoming injured as you build up your fitness.
Impact of lockdown on fitness levels
Some people were able to maintain a reasonable level of fitness during lockdown by taking a daily walk or joining online classes. For others, the disruption to normal routines proved too great and people gained weight due to inactivity, comfort eating and stress.
Avoid sporting injuries: our top 8 tips
If, like so many people, you can’t wait to get back to summer sports such as tennis, running or golf, or you are longing to visit the pool or the gym, it’s worth reminding yourself of some of the golden rules of injury prevention. Pushing yourself too fast and too far could well cause damage to muscles, ligaments and tendons that have become tight or less flexible due to loss of use. Here are our top 8 tips to rebuild your fitness without getting injured:
- Start with mental preparation: It’s helpful to remind yourself when you return to your chosen sport that you are likely to be experiencing the effects of deconditioning. You may have less strength and lower endurance. Your fitness level and your speed are likely to have declined. Your technique may not be as good as it was before lockdown and you may find it harder to focus or motivate yourself. All of these are completely normal and unavoidable so let yourself off the hook and tell yourself that you will be back to where you were after a few weeks of training but there’s no need to try and force it in the meantime.
- Build up slowly: One of the most common ways people get injured is by trying to do too much too soon. You need time to rebuild your strength and stamina. Rather than just diving into your favourite sport and giving it everything you’ve got, spend time doing some workouts to build up your fitness again and strengthen your muscles. We recommend starting off with around 50% of what you were doing before lockdown and building up by around 10-15% each week.
- Set goals: Having realistic, achievable goals will remind you to build up gradually and not overdo it. Choose SMART (specific, measurable, attainable, realistic and time-sensitive) goals that will help give you a sense of achievement as you reach them. Sometimes working alongside a friend can be helpful in supporting you to stick to your goals.
- Remember to do a proper warm-up: This is vital to prevent injuries and improve your performance. We recommend spending around five minutes warming up and cooling down and incorporating at least one minute of long stretches.
- Be careful of old injuries: Pay particular attention to the site of former injuries and stop if you experience pain. Consider deep tissue massage to the muscles around the injury site or applying an ice pack to reduce inflammation.
- Don’t ignore pain: Whether or not you have injured yourself before, always pay attention to pain in your body while you are exercising. Try taking your exercise down a notch or two until it is pain-free or switching to a different activity. If the pain continues, stop.
- Mix it up a bit: Doing too much of the same type of exercise increases your risk of injury. Try to have a mix of resistance training, flexibility and cardiovascular endurance training, particularly while you are building up your fitness after a break.
- Look after your whole body: It’s important to consider your overall health and wellbeing not just your physical fitness. That means eating a healthy balanced diet, drinking enough water and making sure you rest and get enough sleep.
If you are unlucky enough to injure yourself or if you have an old injury that still causes problem, talk to W27. We offer a range of state-of-the-art imaging techniques to provide an accurate and in-depth diagnosis of the problem as well as ultrasound-guided treatments like painkilling injections.
SPORTS INJURY TREATMENT | MANCHESTER, LANCASHIRE & CHESHIRE
W27 provides fast, accurate diagnosis and treatment of musculoskeletal symptoms and conditions using the latest state-of-the-art imaging facilities.
For your appointment there is a choice of locations:
The John Charnley Wing, Wrightington Hospital – Hall Lane, Appley Bridge, Wigan, WN6 9EP
HCA The Wilmslow Hospital – 52 Alderley Road, Wilmslow, Cheshire, SK9 1NY
Euxton Hall Hospital – Wigan Road, Euxton, Chorley, PR7 6DY
The Spire Manchester – 170 Barlow Moor Road, Didsbury, Manchester, M20 2AF
The OrthTeam Centre Ohm Building – 168 Barlow Moor Road, Manchester, M20 2AF
MedSerena Upright MRI Centre Manchester – 26-28 The Boulevard, Manchester, M20 2EU
MedSerena Upright MRI Centre London – 114a Cromwell Road, Kensington, London SW7 4ES
Information about our Fees can be found here.
If you have any questions or would like to discuss your options with a specialist, please contact the team to book an initial consultation.