It’s been a while since you packed up your little bag for the gym. Maybe there’s still a terry cloth, rainbow-striped head band in there, next to a fetching pair of matching leg warmers.
No matter how long it’s been, the gym should be an injury-free zone. Prepping to return to the gym is what you need to do before throwing yourself at it to ensure that’s the case.
Let’s talk about getting your body ready for your latest self-improvement project!
When your mind’s made up, you’re ready to roll at full throttle. But full throttle is how injuries happen, when your body’s not quite as made up as your mind.
Whether it’s been a long time or even just a few months, baby steps are required to help your body understand that you’re about to ask more of it than you have in a while.
To get started, commit yourself to walking for a half hour to an hour every day. Set a good pace for yourself to get your cardiovascular system pumping.
Before you get out there, be sure to stretch. Your hamstrings and calves are especially important, as these are areas which are likely to complain if they’ve been out of commission for some time.
Try some home-based exercise, too. Body weight exercises are a great way to pre-condition your body for the rigors of gym training. Try wall push aways, hip raises and planks. Using the weight of your body is a highly effective way of restoring muscle tone and density and encouraging yourself out of an exercise hiatus.
When You’re Ready
You’ve removed your rainbow-striped head band and leggings, replacing them with a water bottle, an energy Bar and a towel. You’re ready to go!
There are some important points to remember before you get in there and go wild on the machines. Let’s review.
- Warm up before your start. Stretch all the parts of your body you plan on working. 5 minutes of stretching and 5 minutes of walking should do it. Underplay cardio on gym days, or you’ll run out of gas fast.
- You’re there to do yourself good – not impress anybody.
- Load up with carbs about an hour before you go.
- Take it easy. Don’t rush. Resolve to do upper body or lower body, but not both or the next day will be a preview of Hell.
- That water bottle in your gym bag? Drink from it throughout your workout.
- Remember that consistency is the right approach. Consistency and patience will get you to your workout goals.
- After your workout, go eat! While you’re at the gym, you’re breaking down muscle fiber, so eat a meal which combines carbs, healthy fat and protein to help you rebuild.
- Ignore the gawkers. Ignore the strutters. Just do your workout.
Slow and steady wins the race and with that approach, you’ll meet your goals and stay injury-free while you’re meeting them.
Back & Body Medical is the athlete’s best friend. Amateur or pro, we’re here to serve you! Contact us.