A lot of regularly active people had to put a pause on their active lifestyle when the entire world into lockdown to protect against the COVID-19 pandemic.
Now that most quarantine restrictions have been lifted, some countries have started allowing gyms to open back up again. This means you can slowly begin living actively again.
This article is going to teach you how to get stronger and build your stamina back up after months of sitting around at home.
It’s time to pack up your makeshift gym equipment and close those DIY video workout tabs on YouTube because the gyms are open, and you need to get back in shape.
Follow these guidelines on getting back to the gym post-COVID:
Is there a timeline to getting back to sports and exercising?
Yes, there is a timeline that most have to follow, depending on the severity of their experience with COVID. The primary focus of each individual must be on getting rest, hydration, and nutrition.
People who have tested positive for COVID are required to rest for at least ten days regardless of the symptoms they experienced. No physical activity of any sort is allowed within that timeframe to ensure the body heals.
Athletes who tested positive but are asymptomatic begin their 10-day rest from the date they received the positive result. Athletes who tested positive and are experiencing symptoms begin their 10-days rest from the date the symptoms first started.
Those who only experienced mild symptoms or no symptoms at all, regardless of the positive result, may start gradually returning to their exercise routine.
All other types of athletes who experienced severe symptoms may only begin training after being looked over by a healthcare professional.
They need to undergo a lot of tests to ensure they are healthy. Most doctors would require an ECG, blood work, and heart imaging before clearing an athlete for physical activity.
Then again, even though athletes have been allowed to start training, they still have to start out small and gradually up their load and endurance over the course of a few weeks. Listed below are tips on how to safely get back into your workout routine post-COVID.
If you start feeling any symptoms that generally make you feel unwell, stop immediately and take a break. These symptoms could range from light-headedness to complete loss of vision.
Rest up for at least 24 hours before you start working out again. If symptoms persist or are severe, visit your doctor for recommendations and additional testing.
1: Do your warmups
Of course we’d start with the most unexciting and obvious tip in the book. Warmups are a must, no matter what kind of exercise you’re starting.
They are even more important now because unless you’ve been doing exercises at home, your body has not seen physical activity in a long time.
Remember your goals for the session before you start warmups. What do you want to achieve? Focus on these as you decide your warmup routine.
Often, you can make do with mobility and muscle activation exercises so that you can loosen up your muscles and get them ready for the rest of the workout.
A warmup session helps ensure that your muscles and joints are ready for the movements and force you will be exerting.
Specializing your warmup routine to your goals for the day ensures less risk of injury because the right muscles were warmed up prior to the workout.
You wouldn’t want to stretch and warm up your upper body when you’re going to mostly be doing leg work, right?
Dynamic warmups are often recommended because they are focused on your goals for the workout and lead you through movements that mimic what you will be doing for your workout routine.
Consider doing dynamic warmups to improve your coordination, mobility and to build strength.
2: Take it easy on the weights
Unless you had your own weights at home and you continued using them regularly, it is best to avoid the weights for the first few gym sessions.
Recall your workout plan before the COVID-19 pandemic. Your initial goal must be to achieve 50% of your previous workout plan.
If you start hitting the weights too soon, you risk being a victim of a sports-related injury. This could set you back on your getting in shape.
After your first few sessions, and you feel ready to start lifting weights again, start small and gradually add on as the weeks pass by. For example, if you haven’t been using any weights at home, don’t jump in to do a 60kg barbell squat immediately.
Slow your roll by using alternative, controlled exercises with a kettlebell that doesn’t weigh that much. You can try doing squats or bicep curls.
Start small and progress gradually. You can use reps to gauge how ready you are to add more weight or go for a slightly heavier kettlebell this time.
Don’t forget your form as well. You need to be able to maintain good form as you go through your reps. Lousy form means a lousy warmup, and it will not help you out in the long run.
Be realistic in your goals and work your way up to the top until you’re back at 100% capacity once more.
3: Apply the correct posture and techniques
If you have not had much access to professional gym equipment during quarantine but still persisted with workouts, your form may not be up to shape.
For most people, it may have been a while since the last time you lifted a barbell or deadlifted.
Start with low resistance so that you can retrain yourself to practice the proper forms again. Once you feel confident you can, slowly start adding more resistance.
This is a great way to prepare yourself to practice the correct movement patterns so that you execute them well once you get to build more resistance.
By practicing with lower resistance, you can correct yourself or remind your muscles how they’re supposed to move without much effort. You don’t even have to count it as part of your exercise.
Some would consider this a part of their warmup or a simple trial session before continuing with the actual workout.
4: Pace yourself
Building yourself back up to 100% capacity is a marathon, not a sprint. Limit your gym sessions to how often you worked out from home.
For example, if you used to work out at the gym five times a week but were only able to work out once a week during quarantine, start with once a week back at the gym.
Then, work your way up from there. Add on an additional day every other week to get it up to twice a week until, eventually, you reach your previous goal.
Allow yourself rest days so that you can get back to working on your long-term goals.
5: Give yourself a break
By once again starting your workout, you should stop being too hard on yourself. There will be muscle pains, soreness, and fatigue.
That’s all right. It takes a few weeks for your muscles to adapt to the new physical exercise.
This is also part of the reason why you should take it slow and build your strength, stamina, and endurance back up before moving on to the intense workouts you used to do.
Rest days are important, and make sure you treat your pains well with a hot compress, cold compress, or a combination of both. Foam rollers are also beneficial in relieving muscle tension.
Eat a healthy and balanced diet and hydrate yourself with as much water as you need. Since exercise also helps fix your body’s circadian rhythm, you may also find yourself getting better sleep quality than before.
Take advantage of this and get a good night’s sleep to allow your muscles time to relax and recover.
Supplemental boosts for yourself
A muscle growth supplement helps stimulate muscle size and increases your overall performance and strength. They may also enhance your physical appearance.
The most common types of muscle supplements are often taken either before a workout or after a workout.
If you want to know how to get stronger other than lifting weights, you might want to try infusing a Juiced Upp product range as part of your pre-gym or post-gym routine.
It may be difficult retraining your body to get back to its prime before the lockdown, but with persistence and gradual workouts, you’re going to get there eventually.
Regularly sanitize gym equipment before and after use to reduce the risk of contracting or spreading the virus to anyone else.
If possible, wear a mask while you’re at the gym for added protection. Practice social distancing and avoid forcing your body to take more than it can handle as you ease yourself back to fitness.