Great news! Gyms opening back up on Monday April 12th. Will you be rushing back? If so proceed with care, don’t overdo your first few sessions.
Fitness expert, Joe Mitton – Personal Trainer and Founder of MittFit – has offered us some helpful tips to ease us back into the gyms and avoid injury if the past months have seen you “having a rest” from serious exercise.
If you’ve really given fitness a rest why not get out for a few walks before you hit the gym?
Walking is a simple exercise that helps to boost our mood and relieve stress. With an average of 119,000 searches each month and 56.8 million article shares on the topic globally, it is the second most popular exercise for managing burnout.
Walking helps to release tension in the body, both in the neck and in the legs. At the same time, walking can frequently reduce the incidence of stress-related conditions such as cardiovascular disease, high blood pressure and high cholesterol. Walking helps to stretch and strengthen muscles and is also “beneficial for the hippocampus – which is the part of the brain that acts like a brake on the stress response”, says Ruth Cooper-Dickson, Positive Psychologist.
Reebok did a little study outlining the most popular exercises we have been doing in lockdown. You can see the results at their website here.
How to safely return to the gym
Joe Mitton, Personal Trainer and Founder of MittFit: “First things first do a proper warm up and then, my biggest advice, go at week 1 with 50%. We all haven’t use the gym in months and although you might have been training at home, it won’t be the same as racking up a machine to the highest weight like you used to and smashing your way through it. Just be sensible and give your body a week to get back into the swing of things. It’s important to go through the movement patterns again but we need to be mindful of load and risk of injury.
“I would also advise sticking to the fixed machines for the first week – things like chest press, shoulder press and leg press. They have fixed movement patterns and allow you to easily increase or decrease the weights. Use the fixed machines with 50% of the weight you would usually do and slow down the tempo. Think about the muscles you are targeting, can you feel it there and does it move freely? If not, you may need to focus on exercises to increase mobility and warming up.”
How to create a blended workout – exercising from both the gym and home
“If you are going to be working out both at the gym and at home it would be good to consider which exercises you are looking to do. That way, we can appropriately plan for volume, intensity, recovery and progression. For example, if you really wanted to build up your glutes, save your hip trusters for the gym where you can use a bench and a barbell as opposed to just doing bodyweight ones at home. However, if you are thinking about working your core, you can do this extremely well with no kit so a short body weight core workout at home would be perfect. It’s all about maximising the kit at your disposal to ensure you are getting the most out of your workouts.”
Advice for people who have enjoyed exercising from home and want to start going to the gym
“Gym’s might seem intimidating, especially if you have never been before, but that doesn’t have to be the case. If you have been exercising during lockdown and are looking at using the gym for the first time, I would say go for it! You have as much right as anyone else to be there so don’t be afraid to ask for help or how long someone has left on a machine you want to use.”
We hope Joe’s tips help you out and get you back into the gym safely and without injury. Go steady with the gyms opening, it won’t take you long until you’re back in your best shape.