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Restarting your fitness post lockdown

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Health and fitness are gaining importance in the lives of many people across the world in recent times. During the course of the pandemic we all have realized the importance of maintaining good health and improving immunity.

Most of you would have read, heard or seen advice about maintaining health, fitness and good immunity.

As the present lockdown eases, there will be an increased interest and urge to kick-start or restart a fitness regime. Whilst this is great thing to do, as it indicates the importance you place on your health, but you will also need to remember a few things to avoid injuries or to avoid any inadvertent damage you may do.

Human body is a complex machine and like any machine which has been in limbo for a long time, you have to follow a careful procedure to endure you get the best out of it for a long time. Whatever fitness regime you are following, always remember the start off gently and within limits of what you can comfortably do. Due to limited activity levels, your joints will not have the same range of movement, your muscles will not be as strong, your muscle memory will be lacking and your cardio-respiratory capacity will have taken a hit. Do keep all these in mind as you start off. Whatever type of exercise is your cup of tea, the same rules will apply for all of them. Primary aim is to improve your fitness, so making sure you don’t injure yourself is of prime importance.

A warm up and stretching prior to starting and a cool down after finishing exercising, is of a lot of benefit. By warming up and stretching before starting to exercise, the risk of injury is reduced and the ability to regularly improve performance is also gained. Most of you will have noticed that the first few minutes of exercising are difficult, as your muscles and joints may feel stiff and your motivation levels are lesser. The process of warming up gives your muscles and joints the time to loosen up. It also gives you time to ease yourself into the exercise routine, without feeling too tired. You also get a chance to activate your muscle memory for the type of exercise that you are planning for. Cooling down after completion is effective in reliving any post workout stiffness or pain you may develop. As the name suggests, your body slowly cools to its normal operating temperature after having endured stress in the duration of the exercises.

Once you are warmed up, remember that fitness is like a marathon and not a 100 meter race. You will be doing this for many years to come. Be in no hurry to force your body to do more in a short span of time. Start off small and gently increase the pace and intensity of the exercise. Your body experiences stress when exercising, this stress is a good stress, but again like all good things it has to be in moderation. Pushing your body too soon or too much will risk injuring you permanently. Hence the advice of starting small and gradually building it up. If you are planning to run a marathon, you may run just a few hundred meters the first day, but that gradually increases until you can run many kilometers effortlessly. This gives all of your systems to accommodate for the increased demands that are being placed on your body.

Remember the cliched phrase “Rome was not built in a day.” All the best for a lifelong journey of fitness and strength you have embarked or are embarking on.

This is the first blog in a series about health and lifestyle, which we will be releasing every few weeks.

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