As the country starts to open following the coronavirus related lockdowns, people of all ages and ability are eager to return to their sport or fitness programs. The lockdowns have given us a pause and a blank slate to work from, so now is a great time to reflect on your individual fitness goals. What do you want from returning to physical activity? Is there a new activity that you have wanted to try, but haven’t? Here are some key general conditioning goals and concepts to bear in mind as you return to physical activity.
1. Don’t get hurt
Over the next month, take time to prepare your body to return to physical activity. There are several areas of fitness and training that can be done at home with minimal space or equipment to help facilitate a healthy return to activity and decrease the chance of injury. These movement patterns can be done throughout your week and provide synergistic results. Focus on one or two areas per day as you start out.
- Dynamic Stretching
- Static stretching
- Aerobic conditioning
- Anaerobic conditioning
- Muscular strength and endurance
Also, remember that a healthy diet, adequate hydration, and rest support your performance and recovery.
2. Ease into Physical Activity
For most people that have been doing minimal physical activity during the lockdown, we want to taper our physical activity to allow for healthy conditioning. Take your time and avoid rushing back into full intensity or weekly physical workload.
- Start with less, then do more. For the first week of returning to your regular fitness program or sport, a good goal would be 1 to 2 days of activity. For the second week, you may taper up to include days 3 and 4. In the third and fourth week, you will likely be back to your normal schedule.
- Our goal as we ease back into physical activity is to focus on regaining good habits and consistency, instead of trying to return to where we left off or chasing results. By accommodating your activity to allow for a return of good habits and consistency, you will build a healthier base for the future.
3. Manage Expectations
- We may be eager to return to our normal activities, but it is expected that we will have some rust to shake off. Avoid becoming discouraged if you find yourself a little slower, less coordained, and deconditioned.
- Set realistic benchmarks and work backward from your plan easing into your training schedule to reach your goal. Use clear and specific goals to allow for understanding and daily commitment.
- Conditioning will involve multiple areas of physical fitness and require time and consistency to develop. Trust the process, and you’ll get there.
4. Have Fun
Smile, be social and remember to have fun while returning to your fitness program. Show your appreciation for your team, fitness, classmates, and instructors. By having fun and working towards your goals, you’re already a winner.
Consulting with a physician prior to starting any new fitness program is recommended.
About the Author:
Dr. Taylor is a licensed Naturopathic Doctor from Rochester, New York. Her interest in health and wellness stemmed from her experiences as a youth and college athlete.