Returning to Sport – but hold up, not so fast! 

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As restrictions are easing we all seem to be spotting the light at the end of the tunnel and wanting to just sprint towards it, but hold up! While I understand the excitement and share it with you all, we must remember that COVID has changed the many people’s routines. For some of us, this includes more time spent in the typical ’T-rex crouching in front of a laptop’-position, for others it may have been the lack of walking to work, running for a bus or taking the stairs to the place of work. Little activities like getting a coffee or going for lunch required little or large walks that would break up our day and give us some form of exercise. You may not think it’s a lot but little activities can accumulate and before you know it the 5 minutes of movement x4 daily can quickly amount to more than 2 hours of extra movement each week. Now consider that many gym-goers lacked the equipment to match their pre-COVID training intensity and group sporters lacked the legality of training with their teammates.

 

Fast forward to today and the light at the end of the tunnel, all I ask of you is to take it slowly and pace yourself. As I will shortly explain, pacing can be the difference between you going on your merry way to return to your sport of choice and injuring yourself just to add several weeks or months of rehab to your program.

 

How do I pace myself? 

To successfully pace yourself, you need to lower your expectations of the intensity and volume of your workouts for the first few weeks. Even with home workouts, I advise against picking up where you left off. Take this time to clean up your technique, practice low impact skills, and build mobility. Mobility refers to the ability to support all ranges of movement available to you. In other words, slow down your training for now and build it back up to match your strength to your flexibility.

 

There is more…

Now that we know what pacing is, I want to address another modification to your training: Assess what you spend most of your day doing. It can be sitting at a laptop, standing for long periods, or looking down/ bending over a lot. Include an exercise that counters the movement you do all day. If it’s sitting, you may want to add hip extension (straightening) exercises like deadlifts or bridges to your program, while a person constantly standing may want to add squats and core exercises, and a person bending over a lot may want to focus on back extensor exercises.

 

How do I Prehab? 

Get your warm-up right and focus on ‘activating’ all your stabilisers. For your shoulders that would be the rotator cuff, for your hips, this may be various hip muscles like e.g. the gluteus medius.

 

Lastly, you know where we are. Should you need a prehab program where we assess what to focus on, or want to know more about your return-to-sport, book-online or give us a call at (02)98102839.