Going back to the gym: how to avoid injuries after lockdown

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A man and a woman run on treadmills in the gym while wearing masks.

After months in lockdown, gyms in England reopened on April 12. Many have already eagerly returned with plans to get back to their old fitness routines. But while it may be tempting to go straight back to what you used to do, this could result in an injury – which is why it’s better to ease into training after months off.

Injuries happen when training load exceeds tissue tolerance – so basically, when you do more than your body is capable of. Fatigue, muscle-tendon strength, joint range of motion, and previous injury to the tissue can all increase the likelihood of sustaining an injury.

The most common injuries associated with excessive training loads are tendinopathies and strains. Tendinopathy describes when tendons – the tissue connecting your muscles to your bones – have failed to repair properly from previous damage. Common tendinopathies occur in the buttock, proximal hamstring (thigh) and Achilles, while the most common muscle strains happen in the shoulder and knee. But understanding of how our body changes in response to training can help us reduce injury risk when we return to the gym.

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