Returning to an Exercise Program

July 15, 2022

Are you just beginning to return to your exercise program?

The Covid-19 pandemic has been a long haul with lots of stops and starts. Activity levels dropped for a lot of people. Some people have been back in full swing for a while: going to the gym, attending yoga classes and group exercise classes. For others, returning to group settings, particularly in indoor spaces, has still been a cause for concern and something to return to slowly.
But this summer, the warmer weather has encouraged people to get outside and get active. That’s good news, but if you’re one of the holdouts and have had a long break from activity, your body might not be ready to jump right back in. Here are a few tips to help you get more active without getting hurt:

Start slow

● If you’re a runner, think about a walk to run program
● If you’re a weight lifter, start with lighter weights and fewer reps.
● Whatever your activity of choice is, start with short periods of activity and gradually work your way back up.

Warm-up and cool down

Warming up gets your heart and lungs ramped up and prepares your muscles and tendons for the increase in activity about to come. Include some light cardio like jogging, jumping jacks, or cycling, followed by active stretching like butt kicks, high knees, or yoga.
Cooling down transitions your body back to a lower state of stress – it brings your heart rate and breathing down, decreases blood flow to your muscles and back to places like your digestive system, and helps you relax. It’s also a great place for static stretches if you need some work on your flexibility.

Take a day off

Rest days let your body recover and keep you from getting burned out. Not enough exercise isn’t good for you, but too much of a good thing can cause problems too.

Watch for early signs of injury

Some soreness for a few days after activity is normal, especially if you’ve had a long break. But there are a few common issues to watch out for as you return to activity:
● Swelling or bruising
● Joint pain, especially in the knees or shoulders
● Foot pain, which could be a sign of plantar fasciitis
● Muscle strains – particularly common in the hamstrings
● Sprains – most common in the ankle
Any of these issues justifies a call to your physical therapist.

Getting checked out early can prevent an injury that derails your attempt to return to activity. PTs see all of the issues just mentioned on a regular basis and can help safely guide you back into a more active lifestyle.

Whether you need some guidance on getting back to an exercise routine, recommendations on exercise progression, or help with an injury, the experts at Adeo Physical Therapy are here to help. Give us a call at 970-339-0011 to set up your appointment today.