Returning to Sport After Lockdown

It is looking like we might be able to return to playing team sports very soon and some of us might not feel ready for it mentally or physically. So what can you do to help ease yourself back in and reduce getting injured.

Check your Equipment

Firstly check that all your equipment is in good condition. The last thing you want is your old pair of trainers causing you an injury just when you are allowed to play. Footwear is really important to keep in good condition it can protect you but also affects your movement. If they are to worn then you may find that you get foot and Achilles issues.

Gradually Increase Intensity

If you have been exercising while in lockdown start increasing the intensity of your sessions and reduce the duration. This will get you game ready. Make sure you have plenty of recovery time between sessions and have rests within your training sessions. As you get fitter you can reduce the rest time within the training sessions. For instance you may do 100m sprints at 60% max effort with 3 sets, each set containing 3 sprints with 30 seconds rest between each sprint and 3 minutes rest between each set. As you get fitter you may increase the load or reduce the 30 seconds down to 20 seconds rest.

Need to Start Exercising

Perhaps during lockdown you haven’t had the motivation to exercise or opportunity to. So start now, you have a goal now but make sure you start of gradually. Going for a walk-run is a good place to start. Run for a minute then walk for one gradually increasing your run time and reducing walk time. You are still getting exercise while walking but allowing your body to adjust to the increase in demands, which should decrease the risk of injury. In no time you will be running the whole distance. Once you have some base endurance training under your belt you can increase the intensity.

Strength Training

You don’t need a gym, you can use household items or just body weight exercises. Adding core and strength exercises will help reduce injuries and make you more robust for playing sport. Include the following types of exercise

  • Squats (variations include jumping for high intensity)
  • Shoulder bridges
  • Press ups
  • Tricep tips
  • Lunges
  • Clams
  • One leg deadlift
  • One leg squats
  • Hops
  • Calf raises
  • Step ups

Post Exercise Care

After an exercise session make sure you stretch. Taking a hot or cold bath/shower (depending on your preference) can also help your muscles recover. Making sure you have a meal containing carbohydrates and protein will give your muscles the nutrients it needs to repair and get stronger. This is best done within 30 minutes after exercise.

Hopefully for most this is a time of excitement to get back to playing and having some level of social interaction. Make sure you still follow social distancing guidelines set out by your club and governing body. This is for your safety and will allow you to continue to participate in sport. I hope you all enjoy getting back to sport and do get in touch if you have any questions or need advice.

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