Lockdown has affected each of us in different ways, and while some have struggled with life behind closed doors, others have been able to make the most of the lifestyle change.
A growing number of people have turned to exercise, whether to keep in shape, help their physical and mental well-being, or just to alleviate boredom.
According to figures from Bupa, around two-thirds (61%) of adults have been using the extra time spent at home to engage in all sorts of physical activities, including jogging, cycling, and online exercise classes.
This has seen almost a third (28%) doing more exercise than usual and intake, while one-in-five (17%) have been inspired to try something new.
But this new-found enthusiasm for sports and exercise has led to a boom in sports-related and home exercise injuries, with around one-in-ten picking up ailments during lockdown. To make matters worse, only a quarter of those injured haven’t sought any professional medical help, with a growing number turning to self-diagnosis and treatment via simple Google searches.
Perhaps even more worrying is that almost half have chosen to do nothing at all, even though this risks further damage and a long lay off.
Obviously, taking part in certain sports and activities makes you more susceptible to injury than taking part in others, but all physical activity comes with the risk of a tweak or pull.
To help you get through lockdown and beyond unscathed, here are some of the most cures and prevention measures.
How To Prevent Injuries
As with most things, prevention is better than cure, so here are five steps you can take to help prevent injuries when exercising:
Make space – Make sure your exercise area is clear of any objects that you could stand on or trip over, and make sure you can do a 360-degree spin with arms outstretched before you begin. If you’re using exercise equipment, make sure it’s always kept in front of you where you can see it.
Warm-up – It can be tempting to just launch straight into an exercise routine, particularly if you’re short on time, but warming up your heart rate and muscles with some light stretches is essential for preventing pulls and strains.
Know your body – Pain is your body’s way of telling you that you’re doing something wrong or overdoing things, so always make sure you listen to the signals it’s sending you. Slowly increase the length and intensity of your exercises, and remember that you can’t bank fitness – if you work to your max for a few weeks but then stop completely, you’ll go right back to your baseline.
Vary your routines – Familiarity certainly breeds contempt when it comes to exercise, and repeating the same routine over and over will mean you either plateau quickly or you’ll pick up overuse injuries. So always try to vary your routines and routes to get the most from your workouts.
Have fun – Although there always needs to be a degree of difficulty in any exercise routine, it’s important that you enjoy what you’re doing. Having fun and enjoying the feeling of movement is the best motivator there is.
Dr Hulsha Paudyal (PT), Physiotherapist at Charikot Hospital, Handicap International