People are raring to go, they want to get outside and play sports or get back into the gym!

With the world hopefully on its way back to a “COVID-normal”, these things may be a real possibility in the coming months.

When these things do return, make sure you give your body adequate time to re-adjust to the new conditions when returning to sports or the gym. If you haven't been doing anything over the entirety of the lockdown, jumping straight back into your previous routine may not be your best option. Your body will adapt to the stimulus that it is provided, in any condition. Hence, as you train in the gym and/or play sports consistently, your body will adapt by getting stronger, fitter, more agile and more mobility.

The same can be said for the times we aren’t training or playing sport over an extended period of time. Your body will adapt to its new norm and rapidly pushing it back into something it’s not used to may have a number of adverse effects including soft tissue and tendon injuries.

This has been seen in athletes at the elite level with players returning to their sport with a limited pre season and the inability to truly get `match fit’, injuries have skyrocketed. The NFL and multiple soccer leagues around the world have had alarming numbers of ligament and soft tissue injuries, most of which could be prevented with an appropriate preseason and reintroduction to sport. Essentially, rushing these players back, has resulted in far more injuries. Preventing these injuries is part of the reason why the AFL shortened its quarters this season.

So what can you do to try and minimise your risk of injury when returning to the sports or training that you enjoy? Here are a few tips:

  1. If you haven't been training at all, start out by doing 50% of what you were doing in the gym pre COVID. This might seem low, but give your body the chance to build back to the level you were at. The last thing you want is an injury that keeps you indoors even longer.

  2. Slow increases of no more than 15% in workload each week. This is in an attempt to not over do it.

  3. Enjoy the freedom of movement and the camaraderie of your team or friends in the gym!

  4. If, in week one of sports pre season, your coach has you running all out sprints, tell them to give me a call. That's a sure fire way for soft tissue injuries! It’s just not needed.

  5. Recover well: get your sleep, eat well and hydrate. You are putting stress on the body, allow it to recover.

  6. If you aren’t sure what to do, find a coach to help. Let them worry about programming appropriately and then you can just enjoy it.

If you have any questions, feel free to contact me. Happy training,

Aiden George - Head of Youth Athlete Performance.

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