Now that more and more gyms are opening across the UK, we’ve been getting a lot of questions from our customers about getting back to exercise after lockdown. You may be raring to go and hoping to make up for lost time, but that could do more harm than good.
If you’ve taken a long break from working out, our strong advice is to take it slow as you get back into it. You can injure yourself if you try to get straight back to the levels of fitness you were at before lockdown began, even if you feel fit and energised.
When you’re going back to the gym after a long break, rest days are more important than ever. Resting at least every other day is imperative, but that doesn’t mean that all you are able to do is lounge around! Going for a walk on a rest day is absolutely fine, as are other gentle forms of exercise.
We recommend taking at least 48 hours of rest between each workout session so that your body can properly recover. For more information, this blog post from Fitness Warehouse will tell you what you need to know about the dangers of overtraining at the gym.
It’s normal to be a bit sore the day after working out, but there are things you can do to ease the pain. Taking some time out to soak in a warm bath with epsom salts or getting a massage are just two ways to soothe sore muscles. If your body is feeling really sore, that could be a sign that you’ve worked out too hard, so go easier during your next training session.
Proper warm ups are also especially important if you’re easing yourself back into working out (and always!). Make sure you warm up for around 5 – 10 minutes before each session – it helps to prevent injuries and can even make your workouts more effective. Target your warm ups based on the workouts you’re doing.
If you’ve been exercising at home during lockdown, whether that’s outside or in your home gym, you may be able to go back to the gym and resume your ‘normal’ workouts. However, it’s important to listen to what your body is telling you.
As an example, running on the street and using a cross trainer (while they may seem similar) are two different types of exercise, requiring different actions and levels of flexibility. So, be aware of your body’s needs and don’t be afraid to ease yourself back in.
The short answer to ‘how should I return to the gym after COVID-19?’ is to take it slow and listen to your body. Make sure you’re doing appropriate warm ups before each session, and take at least 2 days of rest between workouts. Keeping hydrated and eating well are also absolute musts.