How to build up your fitness post-pandemic
By Caroline Freedman, personal Trainer, TRX Sports Medicine Suspension Training exercise professional and author of The Scoliosis Handbook of Safe and Effective Exercises Pre and Post Surgery
- March 23, 2021
My journey to fitness started at 15 when my life was turned upside down. I was diagnosed with scoliosis, a severe curvature of the spine which was in danger of squashing both my heart and lungs. I was advised to have surgery which involved attaching a titanium rod to my vertebrae and cutting seven ribs. Despite having three scoliosis and rib hump correction surgeries, exercise has been my saviour – both mentally and physically – and I use my experiences to help my clients. Gyms are going to be re-opening soon and we’re all looking forward to spring with excitement but a little trepidation. Most of us have been hibernating during the winter months and not doing as much exercise as we’d normally do. We’re also a bit fed up with pushing ourselves out on yet another cold, rainy day and walking the same route. ‘OUR NECKS AND BACKS MAY HURT FROM HOURS IN FRONT OF ZOOM OR THE TV AND OUR POSTURE IS TERRIBLE’ We may be stiff, our necks and backs may hurt from hours in front of Zoom or the TV and our posture is terrible. As a result, many people are now suffering from forward head as they haven’t used back and neck muscles correctly, leading to muscular pain and headaches. With that in mind, it may be tempting to launch into your old exercise routine and just go all out. The thought of having to get back into our pre-pandemic jeans can send us into a panic, especially if you’ve put on lockdown weight. But it’s important to realise you may not be quite as fit and strong as you were at the start of lockdown 3.0. You have to take things slowly and build your stamina back up. In my estimation it often takes clients about two weeks to get back to fitness if they’ve been on a two-week holiday and three months of gym closure means it’s going to take a little longer. So, if you’re doing weights at the gym, start with a lighter free weight than you’re used to and build up slowly over the weeks. Take the machine weight down two levels, too. Stretch when you’re warm as your hamstrings will no doubt be tight. Work on your posture by standing against the wall, knees bent, push your head in and outwards against the wall. Do as much as you feel comfortable to do in classes without feeling the need to compete with everyone else. There’s nothing to be gained if you end up sore and not being able to move the next day. In three weeks, I estimate you should be back to your usual fitness level, feeling better mentally and physically and ready for spring.