Lessons Learned

In Exercise by Katie Evans

2 REALLY Important Lessons from Lockdown

As lockdown is gradually eased and life returns to a new normal, it’s important to look back and reflect on this period.

The past few months stopped us from exercising in gyms, working in offices and enjoying our usual freedoms. As we now get back to our routines, there are a few things that have become quite evident as I have taken new referrals and booked people back in for treatment here in Rosudgeon.

The lack of exercise and our attempts to start new forms of exercise have caused lots of problems. The enforced home working has also caused a lot of problems which need to be corrected before continuing to work in the post-COVID-19 world.

Here are the 2 important lessons from lockdown that we should all take note of to help keep us as fit and healthy moving forward.

1. Home Working Must Be Setup Correctly

Lockdown happened in the blink of an eye for most of us. Before we knew it, we were working from home and we had to take laptops home and find the best place we could in our homes. This isn’t ideal. If you think about the office environment, we have desks, chairs, mouse and keyboards – all are set up for us to be in a correct working position to limit injuries.

  • How many of you have a desk?
  • How many of you had a good office chair that supports you while you work?
  • How many of you did a home working desk assessment?

Maybe not many, and to be honest – who would expect you to?

You may not be an expert with that type of thing. The home working habits I have heard are typically sitting at the kitchen table with poor seating or slumped on the sofa. This doesn’t provide our bodies with the right amount of support and we have tended to remain in uncomfortable positions for long periods of time.

A correct, ergonomic designed setup for work allows our body to work in a position which lets the body work comfortably and reduces risk of injury.

SOLUTION – if you are going to be continuing to work at home, get the right setup. Ask your employer for or invest in a correct desk, laptop stands, separate keyboard and mouse More importantly than anything else – move more frequently. As a rule – change your position and break every 20-30 minutes.

2. New Exercise Needs to be Done Gradually

As gyms and other facilities were closed, we looked for other, new types of exercise we could do. Some people opted to do home workouts, others opted to run and cycle.

It was great to see so many people performing exercise during lockdown but the negative to that is that it has created a lot of injury! Some of the top causes of injury I have seen during lockdown were:

  • HIIT Classes
  • Running

HIIT classes may seem like a great idea to get exercise but the people who put them together don’t often take in to account people’s capability level or their current level of fitness.

This is where injury is created.

If you aren’t used to star jumps, lunges, press-ups and other explosive movements performed in high reps then your body becomes sore.

The tissues in your body cannot tolerate the load being placed upon it, therefore developing breakdown in your soft tissues and joints. This will typically occur within a 4 week period.

You might be told that HIIT classes are a great ‘fat burning’ exercise or it ‘burns calories’  – the truth is, on average you burn around 150 calories in a 20 minute session and there is no fat burning exercise that works better than others.

If you are looking to lose weight, creating a calorie deficit by smarter eating is the only way – not excessive exercise, and 2 biscuits like chocolate digestives equates to your 150 calories burned – so you’ve hardly earned a lot with these workouts. Exercise should complement your body, not leave you sore and injured.

Running works the same way – the amount of strength and control needed in your lower limbs to be able to tolerate running needs to be developed over a long period of time and it needs to be complemented with correct strength training to improve your running mechanics. Joints which help to absorb load and pressure, need a gradual introduction to running impact otherwise cartilage and meniscus structures become irritated.

People who have injured themselves with running have typically started to run multiple times per week, which they have never done before – this creating ankle, knee and hip problems. This can take a good few weeks to settle.

SOLUTION – avoid tissue overload and injury by starting new exercise with a reduced time and intensity with plenty of rest day’s in-between. If you want to start running, use an app like Couch to 5k which helps you to gradually get your body used to running.

If you are going back to the gym – start with 1-2 sessions per week and begin with bodyweight/light weights based exercises and short sessions. Space your sessions out over the week to allow rest and recovery.

Remember – your recovery is as important as your training itself.

Your next session’s performance depends on how good the recovery was from your last session.

Enjoy your exercise, and if you need me –call 07971 294554