How To Head Back To The Gym After An Injury Or Illness

“Contributed Post”

It’s not ideal, but sometimes an injury or ill health can mean that you end up spending more time away from the gym than you originally planned. Whether that be because you injured yourself overdoing it at the gym, or your kids decided to share that flu virus that’s been making the rounds lately, the end result is the same: You end up taking a few weeks off and ruining all that progress you’ve made. It is very easy to lose your drive once you’ve had a few weeks off, and you may find it difficult to get back in the groove of regular exercise and keeping your diet in check. However, once you’ve overcome that initial lethargy to head back to the gym, you may start to feel a little bit worried that you’ve been away for too long and may have to start from scratch. You may have the urge to pick up where you left off and pretend that you didn’t just spend the last month practically hopping everywhere after that ankle injury. Well, below are a few tips to help you ease back into your old gym life with as little drama as possible.


Start light

The most important thing to do when you first head back to the gym is to take it easy. You may not be a beginner anymore, but you definitely aren’t at the same standard of fitness you were before you were forced to stay away from the gym. Whatever strength level you were at, however long you used to be able to go at maximum speed on the cross-trainer, make sure you dial it down a considerable amount. Not only will you have lost some of the strength and cardiovascular ability that you had, but your body won’t be as used to the process of exercise as much anymore. This means that as easy as your first workout may seem on paper, it will probably tire you out more than you expected and leave you as sore as your first few weeks of training did. Let your body get used to the sensation of exercising first before you start to ask it to perform in the same league as it was before.

Protect yourself

If you have been off due to an injury, whether that was gained in the gym or not, it’s important to work around that during your recovery period. You may be well enough to exercise again, but that doesn’t mean you are fully recovered yet. Choose exercises that will have minimal impact on your injury. For instance, if you injured your wrist, it’s probably best not to try for a new personal record on the bench press. You should also protect your injured body part so that while it is recovering it has some extra support. A specialised support bandage will help any unstable joints, and companies like offer insoles that can keep your ankles and knees in good health as you exercise. It is important to note that you should not rely on things like support bandages in the long term, as using them too often could actually weaken the ligaments surrounding the joint. But if you are using them as an aid during your recovery, you will be helping your body in the long run.

Be patient

Recovery is a process that can’t be rushed, and you must allow your body to repair and rebuild. Be strict with yourself when it comes to progression, don’t be tempted to jump from level three to level seven in one workout. Take regular, but small steps forward to ensure sustained success.

Hopefully, these tips have helped you to plan out and prepare for your return to the gym. It’s never nice being forced to take time off and you can quickly become demotivated when you realise how much strength or speed you’ve lost. But by following these steps, you’ll be back to where you were and making new personal records before you know it.

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