If it has been a while since participating in your favorite sport or activity, or simply having a lower activity level, there is good evidence to
suggest that you may have experienced a “de-training” effect if you have not been as active as normal (Pre COVID-19). Resuming activity to previous intensity levels too quickly can put you at risk for injury, as your tissues and joints have been used to much less stress.
When professional soccer players in Germany returned to play in May after a layoff due to COVID-19, the injury rate spiked more than 3x the usual number. Physiotherapists around the world are predicting that there will be a spike in injury rates across many sports and physical activities.
So how can you avoid injury if returning to sport?
1. Don’t partake in too much too soon. Progress volume, intensity, and frequency slowly. Be patient with yourself as you may feel fine during activity and later on pay for it. It may take a few weeks/months to get back to where you were.
2. Allow between session recovery. Exercise is essentially practicing fight or flight mode. If you practice strength training, lifting weight will naturally cause muscle damage. If you think about it, the rest and recovery between sessions is what actually builds the adaptations of our bodies, as we cause the stressors.
3. Focus on other factors that are related to injury risk. Maintain a balanced diet for adequate energy availability. Before and after training sessions include protein and carbohydrates in your routine. Make sure you are getting enough sleep each night as well.
Injury is definitely not 100% preventable, but there are certainly ways we can cut down on chances of being out of commission due to injury.
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