1. Start slower than you think you should!
Don’t rush back! Although eagerness is at an all time high in January when it comes to exercising and health, a graded approach to exercise is always best when it comes to avoiding injury, enjoyment and even consistency.
While over the last few weeks exercise may have disappeared from our lives to be replaced by family time/socialising, it is also essential that we do not jump in at the deep end upon our return!
Injuries can easily occur when the shock of intense exercise is placed upon the body, and while some soreness can always be expected, day after day of soreness after 4 or 5 sessions during the week will do us no favours in the long run.
This overexertion from an early stage will also drive down our adherence as we go on, causing us to miss sessions and eventually give up altogether as we are not enjoying what we are doing, which as always is key!
2. Make sure to include recovery days!
As we mentioned above, some light form of muscle soreness must always be expected through the duration of a training programme. Managing this soreness, as well as fatigue from the gym is key in seeing actual improvements within our training programme. Whether that entails heavier lifts, extra sets or strength gains, improvement in our health and wellbeing is the reason we all exercise. To see improvement from the gym we must take note of the principle of progressive overload.
Progressive overload occurs when after an intense session, fatigue occurs. If we allow the body to recover from this fatigue we will see improvements gradually in our strength over time as the body adapts to the movements performed in the gym. However, if we do not allow the body ample time to recover, a phenomenon known as detraining occurs.
When we continue to perform intense exercise while the body is fatigued, we will induce even more fatigue causing the body to actually decondition over time and lose any gains we have made previously. In order to avoid this it is vital to include rest days into your programme to allow the body to fully recover before your next session.
3. Incorporate Bodyweight Movements
If you are completely new to the gym or it has been several months since you last did resistance training, simple bodyweight movements should be your go to for the first couple of weeks! Although they may seem mundane, bodyweight exercises can be a great way to pique your passion for exercise. As mentioned above, avoiding excessive fatigue and soreness can be key to nailing down a routine of exercise and ensuring consistency.
While compound lifts such as barbell squats, deadlifts may be more popular options for some, simple bodyweight movements such as air squats, lunges, pull ups, press ups and core movements may be more appropriate for you! Bodyweight movements can also be made more challenging quite easily, by simply using a single-leg or single-arm version.
Even when you progress to more difficult resistance training movements, bodyweight movements can be extremely effective as part of a warm-up before your heavier sets.
4. Holistic Health
While returning to the gym may be the priority for many in 2022, some of the less important factors for physical fitness can sometimes be overlooked.
- Sleep is a vitally important tool for the function of our bodies, particularly our brain and muscles. As we place stress on our muscles in the gym, fatigue and slight muscle soreness can occur, and it is while we sleep that this neuromuscular fatigue is dissipated, and any muscle damage that has occurred is rectified through protein synthesis while we sleep.
- Our diet is also massively important while returning to exercise, it is important to be consuming enough calories to support the intense exercise we areundertaking in the gym. A balanced diet including all the major food groups is the only guideline needed. Simply hitting each of the food groups and consuming enough calories will help majorly for most individuals returning to exercise this January.
- Passive recovery can also be a massive help with regards to fatigue, whether that means going for a sports massage, a dip in the cold sea or a hot bath in epsom salts, anything that can help us manage fatigue and general life stressors will aid in our mission for a healthier 2022.
It is important when returning to exercise to follow a guided plan, in order to avoid injury and promote a healthy body in general. If you ever find yourself with an injury, or simply needing advice on how to get started and be safe while exercising, don’t hesitate to contact us here at Physio Performance!
Our experienced therapists can help succeed and reach your goals this January.
To find out how Physio Performance can help, call 041-9877059 or BOOK ONLINE.
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