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  • ABC Radio Brisbane / By Jessica Hinchliffe

Physiotherapists warn gym-goers to ease back into exercise post-coronavirus


As gym doors reopen, physiotherapists are warning us to take it easy as we start working out again.

Key points:

  • Physiotherapists urge gym-goers to gradually restart exercise to prevent injuries

  • People should look to reduce weights by 30 per cent then increase slowly

  • Sports clubs should also have a plan for a return to training

Staying indoors, restrictions on team sports and working from home prevented many of us from maintaining our pre-coronavirus exercise regime.

Brisbane physiotherapist Julie Campbell said after three months inside, many of us were heavier due to lower energy output.

"We would have lost condition and strength as well as mobility, and if you go back and hit the weights as we did, then wham, bam, we're potentially looking at an injury," she told ABC Radio Brisbane.

"There's also an issue with younger people going back to sport and they may have grown over the past three months and could have coordination issues as well.

"It's just a small word of warning that we need to ease our way back."

Ms Campbell said she had seen many adults with "interesting injuries" after forgetting about the past three months of rest.

"If you're grabbing your lat pulldown and giving it the same load as before COVID, you will potentially hurt your elbows and wrists," she said.

"We're asking people to get their technique checked, slow it down and drop the weights for a bit."

She advised gym-goers to take 30 per cent off their weights for the first few sessions before adding 10 per cent each week thereafter.

"Do a few more reps and stretches but don't push it too hard in the first few sessions, as you may injure yourself and be off another few weeks and that's no fun.

"Look after your form, check your posture, and remember it's a marathon, not a sprint, and ease yourself back in."

Team sports to train gradually

Physiotherapist Brooke Patterson, a PhD candidate at LaTrobe University's Sport and Exercise Research Centre, said it was essential for people to have a plan when returning to community or competitive sport.

Sports clubs should have a training plan for teams returning to competition.(Supplied: Netball Victoria)"

Maintaining general fitness from running and walking is great while competitive sport hasn't been possible, but we need to remind all teams and players that they need to return to sport gradually," she said.

Ms Patterson said sport clubs should also consult their local physio to help put together a graded return-to-sport training plan or to work with coaches to implement injury-prevention training.

"As a competitive sportsperson myself, I'm itching to get back out onto the footy field, but we can't just jump straight back into high-speed running, agility and contact activities and expect we'll be fine."

We need to return gradually; with proper training we can avoid injuries that would wipe us out for the rest of the season."

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