After too many months spent largely at home, the reopening of gyms has prompted many of us to think about getting back into shape. Maybe we’ve been to a workout class and struggled to keep up, or feel the urge to shed some lockdown pounds as we try on non-elasticated clothes for the first time in months. Whatever your motivation, here are some tips for getting back to peak fitness to help you feel your physical and mental best.
If you’ve not done your usual workout for a while, it’s important not to immediately launch back into the intensity or weight levels you were used to before lockdown. Ease yourself back in at 50-70% of your usual levels, and then gradually build your pace or weight levels back up over time. This will avoid risk of injury and build your confidence.1 It’s also important to warm up before you start any exercise to increase blood flow to the muscles, reducing risk of pulling or straining a muscle.2 A good warm up should last at least 5-10 minutes and involve gently exercising muscles to prepare them for the activity to follow.
Incorporate stretching into your fitness regime
When thinking about a fitness schedule, most of us leap straight to cardio and weights. However, stretching should also be a core element, both as part of the workout itself and through activities such as yoga. Stretching both before and after exercise, paying particular attention to the muscles you use during your activity, will lengthen muscles and tendons, helping to prevent injury.3 Adding yoga into your weekly routine will stretch you out more, as well as adding further benefits including strength, balance, flexibility and even heart health.4
Of course, fitness is as much about what you put into your body as how you move it. One of the hazards of working from home is being near the biscuit tin. This, combined with higher stress levels, poor sleep and less exercise have led to as many as 48% of us reporting that we have gained weight over lockdown.5 Rather than worrying about weight, focus instead on eating more of what’s good. Make small changes to increase your daily fruit and vegetable intake, as well as focusing meals on lean protein, wholegrains and high fibre foods. As well as being good for your health, these will fill you up for longer, making you less likely to reach for sugary snacks.
Get access to the experts
Expert help can be invaluable to help you reach and maintain peak health and wellbeing levels. Physiotherapy, osteopathy and regular sports massage will help treat aches, pains and injuries, and reduce muscle stiffness and improve relaxation by reducing heart rate and blood pressure.6 Other treatments such as acupuncture, homeopathy and reflexology can also help with overall wellbeing and healing. You can plan ahead for the cost of these treatments with a health care cash plan. With Sovereign Health Care’s Good All Round cash plan, you can claim money back towards these treatments and much more, so you can proactively maintain your health and wellbeing as part of your journey back to peak fitness without the worry of unexpected costs.
For more information on our Good All Round cash plan, please check out sovereignhealthcare.co.uk/good-all-round