As restrictions are lifted and we return to the gym to tackle the weight gain and increase our fitness levels, it’s more important than ever to take heed of the fact that Lockdown restrictions meant for many there was not only a reduction in the amount of exercise, but also in the amount of movement they would perform on a daily basis.
What is the difference I hear you say! The lack of movement means that our muscles, bones, connective tissue, and joints are not shown the range of movements they would or should perform on a daily basis. The implication being for many, a restriction in movement, mobility, and balance. Whilst for others it meant ‘over training’ which lead to similar problems!
The concept of rest breaks can be used for across the board; if you are sat down most of the day your “rest break” should be movement, walking, standing - moving away from the static loading of tissues you have built up whilst sat down. For gardening enthusiast who spend a lot of time bent forward, you need to add the opposite movement in your rest break, such as the cobra position or hook lying position. If your main exercise is sitting as in cycling - you would need your rest break to be something different, for example standing stretches or floor work.
For golfers and those who play racquet sports this will mean loosening up tight shoulders and hips and doing core exercises prior to a game so to minimise the risk of injury and switching on the activity of the spinal stabilisers
The point is that whatever position you spend a lot of time in should not be the same position as you exercise in. So, for those who spend the whole day sitting down - rowing or cycling are probably not the best options - this way you will almost certainly “concrete in” the postural issues built up from desk work.
Lockdown may have highlighted these issues, but I am sure that many of you will have been in similar situations in the past and very likely you may encounter them again.
How can we avoid this scenario?
Many of the injuries that occur from training, can be broken down into these categories:
No pain – no gain! – Applies to those returning to exercise, after several years away and expecting to do exactly what they did 10-20 years ago, (common amongst middle age men). An aging body will not perform in the same way it did in its youth, especially if it has not been looked after. We all know that physical activity can bring its fair share of aches and pains, but if we were to stop exercising at the first sign of discomfort, we would probably never do any exercise at all! The key here is to differentiate between "pain" and "discomfort" when exercising. Effort and discomfort often go hand in hand, and we may call it good pain, or even useful pain. When this becomes actual pain — burning or stabbing or sharp — that is a signal for you to stop.
Do not put all your eggs in one basket! – This relates to those that give up on a particular exercise, preferring to stick with ones that they like, thus compounding weakness and imbalance!
Those of you with investments will understand that one of the best ways to strengthen a long-term financial portfolio is to diversify investments. The same applies with your ‘health & fitness portfolio’. By ensuring variety in your exercise maximizes benefits and minimizes obstacles to working out, such as injuries, plateaus, and boredom.
I saw it on YouTube – This applies to those that gain their inspiration online*, (or from fellow gym users) and attempt exercise regimes without the proper preparation, strength, stability, or mobility to perform. Don’t get me wrong, YouTube, Zoom and other online platforms has allowed millions of people across the planet to work out whilst gyms have been closed. The issue arises when the participant tries to bite off more than they can chew, by this we mean they attempt an exercise or workout that is beyond their current capability. Left unguided or coached, they run the risk of pushing themselves too far and putting excess strain on either their musculoskeletal or cardiovascular system.
Not Fit for Purpose. If you picture two trees, one Oak, the other Willow, both have trunks, roots, and leaves, but both behave in the wind in different ways. The Oak is solid, whilst the willow is flexible. Now think of the gym, we all try to improve flexibility and strength, for those Oaks amongst you, the strength comes easy, whilst the Willows find stretching and flexibility a walk in the park. The problems occur when the Oak tries to become flexible and the Willow attempt to gain strength!
What should I do?
Whatever you do, do something. One of the real lessons of Covid we are learning, is that healthy lifestyle choices matter most of all. This little window in our lifetime has given us all an opportunity to pause, take a breath, and look at the bigger picture. If we go one step further and create a ‘blueprint’ for how we wish to spend the rest of our lives, imaging ourselves at 90, still physically active and mentally alert our lifestyle choices may radically change.
Chose mobility instead of miles pounded on the treadmill. Chose flexibility and agility rather than high intensity and burn! Learn to manage your own body weight and improve all your ranges of movement rather than throwing heavy weights around the gym. Be balanced, be gentle and listen to your body. Take responsibility for your own health and well-being and you will limit the harmful effect that stress, lack of exercise, too much sitting and poor posture can place upon your body, joints, and overall health. Invest in your health and fitness portfolio!
*not all online exercise videos are created by fitness professionals, and not all fitness professionals create fitness videos!
Get in Touch
Gain access to our free Ultimate Motivation Guide and sign-up to our newsletter!
6:30AM - 8:30PM Monday - Friday
7:00am - 2:00 PM Saturday
How To Find Us
Unit 1, Frogmarsh Mill, South Woodchester,
Stroud GL5 5ET, United Kingdom
Phone: 01453 873811
Personal Trainer Website Design by
My Personal Trainer Website