RETURNING TO YOUR EXERCISE ROUTINE COULD BE RISKY
Tid Bits of Info
- A simple formula for maximum heart rate is 220 – your age = max heart rate.
- If your last 2-3 repetitions of a 15 repetition set are difficult but you can do them with good form and no pain you have chosen the correct resistance.
- Cardiovascular fitness improves within 4-6 weeks with the proper exercise routine.
- Musculoskeletal fitness takes a minimum of 6-8 weeks to improve with the proper exercise routine.
- Seek the advice of a Physical Therapist if you injure yourself when you return to your exercise routine.
After extended stay-at-home orders, the states, nation, and world are slowly beginning to reopen. After being confined for 7-8 weeks, many people will be anxious to resume their pre-pandemic exercise routine. Returning to regular activities should be gradual to avoid injury. Healthcare professionals have already been treating patients who sustained injuries of all types while exercising at home during the pandemic shut down. Some of these injuries resulted from over-use while others have occurred due to poorly performing an exercise routine that is unfamiliar to the patient. It is likely that many more people will sustain injuries when returning to gyms and “normal” lifestyle.
If you have not been exercising consistently during the “stay at home” order, it would be wise for you “ease” your way back to your routine. Going too fast will pre-dispose you to an injury. These injuries can be traumatic or over-use in nature. In either instance, you will most likely have to stop your exercise routine for a couple more weeks to allow the injury to heal.
This would be a great time for you to adjust your routine and add or subtract portions of it to make it well rounded for your body and age. Cross-training is a must as you get older. Too many people get “locked” into their routine due to convenience and lack of time in their schedule. Prior to the pandemic, it was not uncommon for healthcare professionals to hear a patient retort that they have no time for exercise. Over the past 8 weeks, there are very few people who were not able to find “spare” time that could have been used to develop a well-rounded home exercise routine that addressed strength, endurance, flexibility and cardiovascular fitness. When you get going again, be sure to incorporate exercises that will address these aspects of a fitness routine.
Your cardiovascular exercise routine should be a minimum of 3x/week for 30 minutes at a heart rate that is approximately 60-70% of your maximum heart rate (220-your age = max heart rate, approximately). The intensity does not have to extreme, but training at a more intense pace will enhance cardiac fitness more quickly and thoroughly. Performing the routine more than 3x/week and for a longer duration can speed up the process, also. You can increase your cardiac fitness in an average of 4-6 weeks.
Strength training requires a great deal of effort and time. You will have to begin your strength training routine slowly. Don’t anticipate returning to it at the same level that you had achieved 8 weeks ago. It will take you several weeks (6-8 average) to get your body acclimated to the routine. Muscle soreness is normal, but joint pain and intense muscle pain is not necessary and can be harmful. Progressing slowly with resistance and repetitions can help you avoid an injury to the soft tissues of your musculoskeletal system.
Take time at the end of your routine to work on your flexibility. The ability to stretch and remain limber and flexible can make you feel much better. Your body will “hurt less” and you will feel like moving. When we are very “tight” and inflexible, we have pain and stiffness when we attempt to perform everyday activity. When someone doesn’t move enough on any given day they set themselves up for a host of medical conditions.
If you suffer an injury upon your return to your exercise routine, seek the advice and treatment from a Physical Therapist. These licensed healthcare professionals are trained to treat musculoskeletal injuries and they can help you return to your routine as quickly as medically possible.
The pandemic forced everyone to become more inactive and in some cases there was no exercise for the past 8 weeks. This will take some time to overcome, but if your pace is correct and you progress slowly and steadily you will get great results and not suffer an injury.