Find your way back to the gym – safely


WEDNESDAY July 28, 2021 (American Heart Association News)

If the pandemic puts your workout routine on ice, you are in good company.

Gym attendance has plummeted over the past year, and as people slowly come back, their bodies can say, “Hey! It’s been a while!” Even the likes of action hero Will Smith acknowledged, “I’m in the worst shape of my life” before posting a video poking fun at how much he forgot to train.

If, like Smith, you are gearing up for a return to fitness, the experts will applaud you. But, they say, you have to be careful. Here are their tips on how to do it.

It starts with a vaccine.

The first step in a safe return to the gym is remembering what has kept people away.

“Number one, get your shot,” said Dr. Brandee Waite, director of sports medicine at UC Davis Health in Sacramento, Calif. This is especially important as the variants of the coronavirus spread.

“If you are indoors, exercising and breathing hard, and you are not vaccinated, please absolutely wear a mask to protect yourself and the community you wanted to join,” said she declared. Even fully vaccinated people should wear masks in indoor public places in parts of the country with “significant” or “high” transmission rates, according to updated guidelines released Tuesday by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Masking is also a good choice for vaccinated people at increased risk of severe COVID-19 or those with high-risk or unvaccinated family members.

The CDC offers guidelines for gyms. Waite suggested checking in to make sure you know what your gym is doing and that you’re comfortable with it – so that a bad surprise doesn’t become an excuse not to come back.

Is it safe to exercise after contracting COVID-19?

For most people, yes, Waite said. It depends on the persistent symptoms. Anyone with COVID-19 should get permission from their doctor before resuming exercise. Some people may also need the advice of a physiotherapist or rehabilitation doctor.

A team of British researchers, writing in the journal BMJ in January, recommended waiting at least a week after symptoms disappear and minimizing exertion for the first two weeks.

But overall, Waite said, “We want people to start exercising again because we need their cardiovascular health to improve to improve their overall health.”

Your pace.

Pandemic or no pandemic, taking off for a long time and then trying to get back to where you were “is definitely a way to get hurt,” said Bethany Barone Gibbs, associate professor in the department of health and human and clinical development. and translational science at the University of Pittsburgh.

And this injury will reduce your activity level in the long run. “So I would definitely recommend slowing down. “

Waite said his clinic was inundated with people who rushed to exercise at the same level as last year and then got injured. For people who are starting to exercise again, Waite’s general rule is to do about half of what you did before you quit.

“Not just half the time, but maybe half the intensity, and see where your body is. And then wait a full 48 hours before taxing it again, because sometimes you have delayed onset muscle pain. . “

To avoid injury, don’t increase your effort by more than 10% per week, Waite said. That goes for “your intensity, your time, your distance, whatever you do per week. If you try to go a little faster, maybe 10-20%.”

We have nothing, nothing? Not necessarily.

If your goal is to get stronger, faster, or to win a race, you want to get to the point where you feel muscle fatigue, or “the point where you feel a burn or mild discomfort,” said Barone Gibbs.

But if your primary goal is simply to improve your cardiorespiratory health, lower your risk of heart disease, maintain your weight, and regulate your blood sugar and blood pressure, you don’t need to go that far.



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“If your goal is just to be healthy, you don’t necessarily need to go to the gym and exercise until you throw up,” she said. “Just walking 30 minutes a day can really give you these benefits.” Federal physical activity guidelines recommend 150 minutes per week of moderate-intensity aerobic activity or 75 minutes per week of vigorous aerobic activity, or a combination of the two.

There is nothing wrong with getting over the pain, Waite said. But the pain is different. “The real pain should stop you, because you’re likely going to change your mechanics and then hurt yourself.”

That’s what lands people in her clinic, she says. Injured people say, “The coach was cheering me on”, or they were close to an arbitrary performance goal and “I got it right, even though my shoulder was starting to hurt”.

So listen to your body, said Barone Gibbs. “At the end of the day, exercise is supposed to make you feel good and better. And if it doesn’t make you feel good and better, you are overdoing it.”

New groove? It’s awesome.

If you’ve found something you like better than your pre-pandemic routine, go for it, Barone Gibbs said.

Waite agreed. “The best activity to do is the activity you enjoy the most.” And turning things around is probably good for your body.

Start from nothing ? You can do it.

“Everyone has to start somewhere,” Waite said. “Wherever your starting point is, honor it as your valid starting point and make a plan for intelligent progression.”

Barone Gibbs recommends starting with as little as 10 minutes of brisk walking per day. “Try this a few times a week and try to increase to 150 minutes a week.”

You don’t have to start with a marathon in mind, Waite said. “I’d rather people start small and have a steady growth plan than start medium, get injured and never exercise again.”

American Heart Association News covers heart and brain health. Any opinions expressed in this story do not reflect the official position of the American Heart Association. Copyright is owned or owned by the American Heart Association, Inc., and all rights are reserved. If you have any questions or comments about this story, please email [email protected]

By Michael Merschel

American Heart Association News

Copyright © 2021 Health Day. All rights reserved.

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