We’ve just marked our one-year anniversary of lockdown. For many of us that has not only meant one year of WFH, but also one year of WOFH… working out from home. With a provisional date for gyms re-opening, the days getting longer and the sun FINALLY starting to appear, we’re feeling ready to up the ante on all things exercise.
We spoke to Rob Foyster, Director and Lead Physio at Spectrum, to find out more about how our bodies have been reconditioned over the past year and how to look after ourselves as we try to return to ‘fitness as usual’. “As a consequence of working from home, the amount we walk or move during the day is likely to have severely diminished. The daily commute, moving around the office, the trip to get a coffee – these have now all gone,” he says.
Throughout the past year, Rob has seen injuries being sustained as a result of people trying to squeeze in a quick HIIT workout or short, sharp run between Zoom calls. “Many clients don’t feel they have had time to get away from their makeshift home desk so they force their bodies to go from zero to one hundred without any proper warm up or gentle, in-between movement.”
So, is it possible to get back to our exercise routines without bulk ordering Deep Heat? Yes, it is indeed, and here are Rob’s top tips on how to do it:
1. Review of your home desk setup: It looks like this new normal will, for many people, involve some working from home going forward. You can’t ignore your desk setup as many of the pains and niggles I am seeing currently are partly as a result of inappropriate working stations. Investing in appropriate equipment to ensure your working conditions are optimal can be useful, but getting a workplace assessment (which we do at Spectrum) to ensure you are spending your money wisely is the best place to start.
2. Gradual return to exercise: When the gyms reopen it is only human nature to try and see if you can pick up the same weights you were using the last time you were there, or to book into all the classes you can. However, it is important to ease yourself back into these forms of exercise as your body will need time to adjust and build tolerance – don’t rush it!
3. Find a balance between more gentle exercise and high-intensity work: Your body cannot cope with a combination of prolonged sitting followed by high intensity exercise without any middle ground! Ensure you allow for time for gentle mobility and conditioning for your body – a nice walk during the week or even some form of pilates or yoga style workout.
4. Daily mobility: For some people, having a 10-15-minute program that they can complete on a daily basis for mobility and generalised conditioning is really useful to prevent injury and ensure proper recovery is achieved. At Spectrum we have devised countless programs for people based on their individual needs and goals. I would highly recommend this for someone who likes to have a routine to follow and needs the extra motivation to stay on track.
5. Seeking professional advice for injury prevention and rehabilitation: The best way to avoid injury is to get assessed before you go back exercise. At Spectrum we regularly complete full body reviews and a back-to-gym plan. These can really help minimize risk of injury after the forced break we’ve had from gyms. However I would also stress, do not let a niggle become an injury! Being proactive rather than reactive is fundamental to a quick recovery.
TRIED AND TESTED BY LOTI
As for us, we’ve tried and tested a couple of alternative methods to recovery;
The MyoPulse – a three-in-one hand held device that provides muscle recovery and strengthening through electronic stimulation. Although quite easy to use, this may be one for gadget lovers. The MyoPulse has 36 different programmes to choose from, all of which support recovery from injury that is tailored to specific muscle groups. It also has a TENS (Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation, obvs) setting to use during exercise. However, do not be deceived by its size because it is powerful! It helped us soothe pain relief from muscle soreness and it will leave you feeling like you’ve had a full blown sports massage.
KYMIRA Sport Infrared Leggings – Kymira’s whole product range aims to boost recovery through the use of infrared technology which promotes blood circulation, increases oxygenation of the blood and reduces inflammation. We’ve been using them for a couple of weeks and have very much appreciated their temperature regulation qualities as London takes us through all the seasons in a day. As well as this they’re comfortable, easy to wear and relatively flattering, and (fingers crossed!) we’re injury free and feeling relatively nimble…