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  • Writer's pictureNikki Parker

Exercising after a Long Break

(AKA 🇿🇦 COVID19 LOCKDOWN)


I’m sure we were all raring to go at 05:59 on May 1st, 2020. A shift of levels from 5 down to 4.

Kit laid out the day before so it was a “roll out of bed”, change-and-go manoeuvre.


If we were lucky enough to have access to a garden or space to exercise we may have managed to do some cardio or strength training. As much as this is applauded, in reality it probably wasn’t nearly as much as you would normally have done had you access to the open road or a gym. Perhaps take a moment to consider the effects of lockdown or a break from exercise on our bodies.


After not being able to exercise for a prolonged amount of time (regardless of injury or not), the body goes through some physiological changes (and I’m not referring to the result of constant snacking).


We may find suddenly when we hit the open road that we are short of breath or your heart feels as though it is about to beat right out of your chest. These sensations can be related due to the lungs struggling to maintain optimal respiration (breathing) and the heart losing its ability to pump blood efficiently during exercise. Couple this together with a loss of muscle strength, tightening of muscles from inactivity, effects on blood pressure, insulin and fat mass.


Although this sounds all doom-and-gloom, there is light at the end of the tunnel. With a slow progression of exercise all of the above factors can be reduced and we can return to our pre-Lockdown/pre-Couch Olympian selves!


Here are a few pointers to help ease you back into exercise:


1. Ease back into your workout.

If you have taken time off completely, you need to start slowly to allow your body to get accustomed to the effects of exercise.


2. Start slowly.

Reduce your mileage to start off with. Give your body the time to adjust to the impact of exercise on it. Don’t rush back into running a 10km if the most you’ve managed is 2km doing loops around the house in the last 5 weeks. This will ultimately help prevent you from injuring yourself.


3. Incorporate yoga, Pilates or strength training (even bodyweight) into your programme. These are great to build both strength and mobility which assist in keeping injuries at bay.


4. Rest days are your friend.

As much as we are all excited to get out there, the body still requires at least 1-2 rest days per week to recover in order for it to rebuild and repair itself.


Although the first few sessions may feel harder than usual, try to focus on the freedom of the open road again, the wind in your hair and the sun on your skin.


Should you experience those snags on the body that remote working or stress have given you, give your friendly Physio a shout to help ease you back into exercise again. 😉


Take care and be safe!


Tired female runner getting back into exercise.
Ease into return to sport to allow the body to adjust to new stressors.

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