As Arizona businesses re-open, The CORE Institute, Arizona’s most respected orthopedic practice, wants everyone to have a safe and productive return to the gym, and that means being aware of the body and its limitations after being less active over the few months.
Physical activity plays an important role in the overall well-being of the body and mind. However, now that gyms have reopened the most common mistake people make is immediately trying to get back into the same intensity and duration of exercises as they were doing before the stay at home order.
“Our bodies need time to build back up to the previous level of fitness and this should be done gradually over a couple of weeks,” says Dr. Michael Rose, a Sports Medicine Specialist at The CORE Institute. “We are telling our patients to start slowly and let their bodies tell them if they are doing too much. A day of soreness after a workout is normal, but prolonged soreness for multiple days likely means a person overdid it.”
Dr. Rose explains that jumping back into cardio, weightlifting, boot camp and other classes can cause injuries ranging from tendon/ligament tears to extensive muscle breakdown that could cause organ damage. He says it is best to start with a combination of cardio and low impact resistance training, such as a stationary bike, swimming, bodyweight resistance or low weight dumbbells. Anyone with pre-existing conditions or injuries should make sure they get clearance from a physician before heading back to the gym.
Below are five ways to safely get back into motion:
- Start slow. If weightlifting, start with 20-50% of previous weight amount and build up by 10-20% or so over a week. Stay away from heavyweights until muscles have had time to build themselves back up. Focus on low impact cardio like the elliptical and swimming.
- Stretch. A quick, dynamic stretch before exercise (1-2 second hold repeated several times) and a longer static stretch (20-30 second holds) after working out.
- Limit time. Try to keep time in the gym to a minimum, 30 minutes is ideal when starting to go back to the gym and go during off-hours to limit exposure if possible.
- Staying safeis all about limiting exposure. Wearing a mask is important if one can do it comfortably. Good hand hygiene and social distancing are also important.
- Bring your own stuff.Bring a towel and water bottle. Make sure to fill-up the water bottle prior to getting to the gym, since water fountains are high-touch areas and bringing your own towel insures no one else touched it without proper protective gear.
Dr. Rose adds, “Exercise is important, so if you can comfortably and safely return to your previous routine you should, as it will lower stress, improve mood and enhances sleep. Stay safe and keep life in motion.”
If there is prolonged pain or numbness after the workout, call your specialist, or make an appointment at The CORE Institute to get a professional examination to ensure there is no serious damage.