Returning to the Gym

By Jeanann Doyle and Shirin Ahmad

The gyms are back! Are you as excited as we are? Although it’s great news that our gyms are deemed safe enough to return to after the risks of Covid-19, going back can feel overwhelming. Here are some tips to help you get back to the gym with ease.

Start slowly

Before picking up the dumbbells again, it is important to take extra precaution. During lockdown, many of us became more sedentary without the usual dashing around to catch a bus or walking to the gym. Fitness levels and physical strength can decline quickly, hence, it is important to take it slow when returning, to reduce the risk of injury.

When returning to the gym after a long hiatus you may feel stiffness in the joints, muscles may feel “tighter” and you may find that you are breathing more heavily. These are all normal signs but will improve with time, therefore it’s essential to take it slow. Set realistic goals with our Healthy Lifestyle Advisers at Healthy Hearts to establish a routine and healthy habits. If you are unsure of how to approach exercise or have an underlying health condition, please consult your GP or a qualified health professional.

Gym Fears

If you have fears of going into a gym environment, remember, this feeling is completely normal. We all started out the same way. Going to the gym gives us similar anxieties to starting a new job or giving a presentation because it is a social experience in which we compare ourselves to others all the time. It may be due to low self-confidence, body image, feeling like we don’t know what we’re doing in front of others or perhaps we feel there are barriers to exercise because of a disability. Whatever it is, we can help you can work on this at Healthy Hearts, supporting you to create SMART goals.

Break down your goal into steps, these can be as small as you like until you start to feel more comfortable in yourself and more confident with your routine. Remember fear is because of the unknown, so getting familiar first is the best way forward. Understand how to use the machines and ask staff how to use them correctly, don’t be afraid to ask. You might want to bring a printout of your workout plan with you or have it on your phone. With effort, consistency, and preparation it will gradually become easier for you to stay focused on your goal and those fears will diminish.

Remember to rest

Regular exercise improves sleep and helps you feel more energised throughout the day. It boosts our mood by releasing feel-good hormones and helps manage stress and anxiety. However, it is important to listen to your body and modify the frequency or intensity of your workouts based on how you’re feeling. Make time for relaxation if you’re experiencing mental or physical fatigue as overexertion may lead to injury. Getting enough sleep and taking rest days can also help with muscle recovery and improve the quality of your workout.

Virtual Gym

It’s completely alright if you’re feeling a little self-conscious or anxious about going back to the gym. How about starting at home? Get back into the gym groove with our virtual gym, The Other Room where you can get access to chair-based exercises, light aerobics, or more intense bodyweight exercises.

Need that added motivation? You can check your progress in our weekly challenges giving you the push you need to get your gym mojo back. If you’re new to exercise, the virtual gym is a great tool to slowly get familiar with an exercise routine from the comfort of your home.

So what are you waiting for? Sign up now to get access to The Other Room and our other services to support your health and wellbeing.

Email us at hello@healthyhearts.org.uk or call us at 020 3434 2500 to find out more.

*Remember to follow gym safety regulations. Your local gyms will have guidelines on how to keep yourself safe whilst using the gym during this pandemic.

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