With COVID-19 restrictions easing across Australia, many of us are about to return to sport or our preferred method of training. Whilst this is awesome, it is extremely important that consideration is taken before building back to pre-COVID levels of activity.
Many have taken the increased time to be more active, which we hope has been successful. Whilst unfortunately, some of us have had a significant decrease in our normal training load. This means when returning to training, we need to acknowledge we won’t pick up where we left off. We need to progressively overload to return to our pre-COVID levels and beyond.
Experts are tipping that there will be a huge spike in soft tissue injuries as Australians return to sport. This is evident when we look at a similar snapshot in Germany who have returned to organised sport…
It’s no surprise to see that in the German Professional Soccer League the incidence of injury has almost quadrupled- each club was back training for only 3 weeks before games resumed. However, the evidence suggests that at least 4-6 weeks of gradual increase in intensity is the minimum requirement before returning to sport.
So what can we all do to reduce the likelihood of injury as we return to our normal levels of physical activity?
- Ensuring that your level of exercise reflects your current level of fitness- ie take the time over the next 6 weeks to slowly build back to your expected fitness level. For example, avoid running 10km when the farthest you have run in the last 2 months is 3 km.
- Appropriate strength and conditioning training to increase the body’s ability to tolerate exercise as you return to preferred methods of training. Strengthening should ideally be completed twice per week to compliment any form of activity.
- Emphasise good recovery as you start returning to sport. Things like foam rolling, stretching and manual therapy are all crucial in managing fatigue as your activity levels increase.
- Warm up and cool down appropriately for each training session.
By taking the above steps, hopefully the transition back to your preferred training is a smooth one. If you need any assistance or advice returning to sport, or if you are hoping to further improve or manage the fitness that you’ve gained during lockdown, don’t hesitate to book an appointment with one of our skilled therapists or our strength and conditioning coach.
-Tom Duck and Scott Hanley