Returning Back to the Gym
We are all super excited for things to return back to normal. That includes getting back to our favorite fitness environments with all of our friends! However, with life back to normal, it is now a “new” normal with new guidelines to follow. Safety is now a greater priority for everyone, both environmentally and personally. When coming back to the gym, it is important to not only watch how you re-introduce yourself to the space around you but how you re-introduce yourself back to the fitness routine you were invested in prior to the pandemic. The last few months have been mentally and physically hard on all of us. When returning to your exercise programs, it is advised that you don’t rush right back to where you left off. Eagerness to move is great when finding the motivation to exercise, but it can be easy to overlook some elements of the retraining process that could put anyone at risk for injury.
There is nothing like having the chance to get back into the gym, working your body hard, and feeling accomplished at the end of your workout. Although we want to jump into where we were a few months ago, there are some changes that need to be made in order for our bodies to in the best place for success. With most of us stuck at home for the last few months, our bodies went through a series of changes to adapt to our now mostly sedentary lifestyle. Many of us don’t have any exercise equipment at home that is similar to the gym, making it difficult to keep up with our routines. In order to return to the level of fitness where we were prior to the pandemic, we need to re-train our bodies and minds in the movements of our former programs. Where safety is our priority, it is imperative that we take things SLOW.
A couple of months ago, some were coming into the gym every day of the week. Instead of following the same pattern, maybe start with 3-4 days of exercise during the first few weeks back. The goal of your fitness program is easing back into your routine. We don’t want to see anyone over-work their body, exhausting themselves and putting themselves at greater risk of both injury and sickness. Our bodies were used to working at minimal levels of exertion during the pandemic. Please don’t expect to be able to push your bodies 100% day one back at the gym. Fitness takes time. The best thing to do for yourself and your exercise program is to be smart in your approach to working your fitness back into your lifestyle. When it comes to weights, the same concept applies in terms of taking it slow. Instead of completing the full 3 sets of the same weight you were using a few months ago, decrease the weight by a significant amount (maybe even 50%) and only perform 1-2 sets. It is better to start low and work your way back up to a weight that is difficult for you rather than the alternative. It is so important to take the time to refamiliarize your muscles to the movements of the exercises before you increase the level of intensity.
Our bodies don’t take a long time to de-condition themselves. Although it has only been a couple of months, this pandemic put us all at a standstill. We now need to be smart, be patient, and take the time to work ourselves back up to where we want to be. Fitness is a journey and it takes time. That is why it is as important as it is that we take things down a notch, focus on what our bodies are telling us, and slowly return back to our exercise programs. Nothing is going to happen overnight, but if you take that eagerness that was building all through this unfortunate time and use it as motivation for the future, you will get back to where you were in no time. As long as we stay safe, follow our new guidelines, and watch out for each other, this new normal will be even better than before.