Tips on Preventing Injury When Returning to Physical Activity
Whether you are coming off an injury, or have taken time off from working out and the gym due to the Coronavirus pandemic, it is important to be cautious when returning to physical activity. when we return to the physical activity we might be rushing into our old routines too quickly and trying to start where we left off, which is not always the best idea. Research has found that a rapid loss of muscle mass occurs within the first one to two weeks of disuse. Then the rate of loss slows and each muscle group atrophies at a different rate.
The bottom line is that our muscles are not as strong as they were the last time we left the gym. Therefore, our workouts need to be modified to reduce injury risk.
Return to Cardiovascular Training
Whether you are a runner, swimmer or cyclist, returning to cardiovascular exercise can be a challenge after time off. The key is the begin at a lower level than when training ceased. Exercise physiologists offer the guidelines in this chart for returning to running; they can be applied to all cardiovascular exercises.
The below chart gives a rough idea of the appropriate method of returning back to cardiovasular activity:
From this beginning, you may progress either your pace or your mileage by 10 percent each week but not both to reduce injury risk.
When choosing a running course, look for one that is mostly flat to avoid the additional challenges of hills. Hills can be added as your cardiovascular endurance improves. It is important to ensure proper warm-ups and cool downs before and after cardiovascular endurance. OC Sports and Rehab’s team of experts in Run Mechanics can greatly help you get back to normal cardiovascular activity without injurty.
Return to Weightlifting
Similar to returning to cardio, this requires a decrease in initial weights and a slow progression to return. Initially with returning to strength training, you will see improvements with less weight. To determine your initial weight for return, focus on a challenging weight when you reach repetition seven or eight of a 10-repetition exercise. This indicates an appropriate challenge while being able to maintain good form throughout the exercise.
As you progress, you will require more weight to continue to achieve strength gains. Most studies recommend 80-85 percent of your one-rep maximum for the most effective strength training.
As you return to working out, whether after the lifting of a stay-at-home order or other extended period on the sidelines, the most important thing is to you listen to your body. If you are having aches or pains as you return, please reach out to one of our physical therapists for an evaluation to ensure a safe, individual return.