Visiting the gym or doing any serious training can be a daunting thought, especially if it has been a while since we strapped on the running shoes or followed a proper training routine.
If you have been inactive for some time, even for a couple of weeks, then the risk of injury when embarking on a training programme increases.
It is therefore worthwhile bearing the following tips in mind when preparing for your return to fitness:
1 – Set Realistic Goals
It is best to start slow, and make any fitness goals realistic, achievable and measurable. It is a lot easier to achieve your goals and break them down when you are aiming for a 20 minute jog rather than a half marathon.
If your fitness levels were previously very high, there is no harm in aiming for these goals but you will need to be patient. Your fitness levels should start to return quite quickly as long as you exercise regularly, moderately and with realistic goals in mind.
2 – Establish a Routine
A daily or weekly routine will quickly help you back on the road to fitness, and if you ease back into a routine that you can follow on a regular basis you will soon start to see the benefits.
A personal trainer or induction at the gym can really help to set out a fitness routine, and this can be tailored to the sport or activity you most enjoy.
Runners will follow a different routine to football players, but all athletes should take care not to overuse the same muscle groups as this can lead to injury. It is important to vary your workout so that you build up strength and fitness over your entire body.
3 – Find a Fitness Buddy or Join a Class
Motivation is very important in fitness, and one of the best ways to improve motivation is to find a fitness buddy or partner.
This could be as easy as going for a walk with a colleague at lunchtime, or you could join a fitness class to exercise with a number of like-minded people.
Exercising with others can be very rewarding, improve motivation and improve the social aspect of your workout to make it even more enjoyable!
4 – Stretch and Warm Up Properly
Another blog post on our site details the importance of a warm up in sport, and this is even more pertinent if you are returning to training after a break.
It is very important to get your muscles warm before activity, as this can significantly reduce the risk of injury during training. It is equally important to cool down afterwards as well, as this allows your heart rate to gradually return to normal as well as removing waste products such as lactic acid from your system.
There is a wide range of warm ups, stretches and cool down techniques available, and many of these will be sports specific depending on the activity you are doing.
For best advice you should consult your local physiotherapist, but in general a good warm-up should last 15-20 minutes and include some light jogging and stretching to start to increase body temperature and warm muscles.
5 – Listen to your body
Returning to training, even if it is part of a routine with an extensive warm up, can be hard on the body.
You may be using muscles that have not been exercised for quite some time, so although a little discomfort is quite normal and can actually be beneficial, it is important to know when to stop and take a break.
Pushing your body too hard is one of the most common causes of injury, but the risk can be reduced by listening to your body and adjusting your schedule accordingly.
Unfortunately injuries can occur even when you are following the most stringent of training programmes. The most common of these include conditions such as a sprained ankle or a hamstring strain, or running related injuries such as “Runners Knee” which occurs when the patella doesn’t track properly.
LP Supports provides a wide range of high quality support products for all core areas of the body, and these will help in recovery as well as protecting from further injury. Supports should also be used in training if you have an existing injury and need to protect the area.
Establish an enjoyable routine, set realistic goals and make sure your body is fully protected and you will be returning to fitness in no time.