Published on June 25, 2021

The Lockdown Effect

women walking on the treadmill

This past year has taken its toll on all of us. The impact of being on lockdown and secluded for months on end range from a rise in mental health issues in adults and children to the unapologetic weight gain due to lack of exercise and movement and eating more indulgent foods than we normally would.

But there are other effects from this pandemic that we may not be paying as much attention to that we should, such as increased injury due to reduced activity.

Outpatient rehabilitation services has seen an alarming number of patients coming in for varied reasons ranging from deconditioning due to becoming completely sedentary, injuries due to falls, or injuries due to trying to return a pre-COVID state of activity too quickly. This is not unexpected as many individuals were impacted by closures of local YMCAS, gyms, and other activities that are good for overall wellbeing.

So, what can we do to get back to feeling more like ourselves while reducing our risk—we suggest taking it slow.

While we all may be eager to get back to our pre-pandemic lifestyle, especially now with reopening happening, it’s important to have patience. If you try to go from 0 to 60, you’re going to get hurt. So, if it’s been more than a couple of weeks, which for most of us—it has been, it’s best to consider yourself starting from scratch rather than try and pick up where you left off.

You’ll have to retrain your body to movement and get your heart ready for the extra work. We recommend starting with just a couple of days a week of exercise and build up your routine as you go. Expect to tire more quickly and feel muscle soreness, this is all normal. If you start to experience actual pain or muscle soreness that lasts longer than a week, it may be time to call your doctor to get it checked out.

Things to Remember:

  • Warm Up and Cool Down- warming up helps prepare your body for bigger movements and can help prevent injury
  • Set realistic expectations – if you’ve haven’t been exercising like you used to, it’s important that you recognize that it will take some time to get back to you prior level of performance, your body has to get used to the level of activity in a safe manner.
  • Set a goal- Sometimes setting a goal can help you get back into exercise, consider signing up for a 5k or another event to help you get back into a regular routine.
  • Listen to your body – getting back into regular exercise will have its ups and downs in terms of how strong you’re feeling. Make sure to take the cues from your body and slow down on the days you need to. If you’re in pain or uncomfortable, reassess and determine if it warrants a call to your doctor.
  • Take rest days – Your body needs time to recover properly, so while you may be ready to workout 7 days a week, you need rest days, without them you could end up with an overuse injury.

If you have questions about your readiness to return to exercise, or you want some assistance in getting back to your baseline, our outpatient rehabilitation services team can help, call to schedule an appointment 508-236-7380