Back to the gym: Anastasia's guide to returning to our usual fitness routine

30 June 2020UpFit
Back to the gym: Anastasia's guide to returning to our usual fitness routine


My name is Anastasia Kasseri and I have been part of the amazing Up Hellas team for almost 3 years.

Throughout this time, I had the chance to creatively participate in the evolution of our services, to get to know them and enjoy them.

Introducing UpFit was a great pleasure for me, but also for the whole team. It is a great project and that is where I spend the biggest part of my day in office, and I enjoy it so much.

As we are slowly going back to a new normality, and we can now return to the gym, I have decided to share some useful tips.

Gyms are open again and exercising indoors is once more part of our fitness routine. But how should we return back to that? Before we start with the heavy lifts and overdoing it on the treadmill, we should be a bit cautious.

During the pandemic and quarantine, most of us were working, exercising and more or less doing everything from home. We, therefore, had to adjust our fitness routine to outdoors activities including walking, running, our talking our pets on long walks. That's why our physical condition has probably changed, so returning to the gym and regular activity might increase the risk of injuries.

How can we avoid this? What is rehabilitation and where is it intended? How important are warm-ups?

Us human beings tend to adapt to whatever is happening to our body. Usually, our body will respond positively to exercising: we become stronger and our physical and mental health improves. When we stop being active, our physical condition deteriorates. Studies have shown that in only 10 days of inactivity, a significant reduction of muscle mass, aerobic capacity and metabolism is observed.

What are the risks? Body restoration is slow. When returning to the gym, we might feel our muscles "tighter" and we might notice we are breathing more intensely. We might also feel our joints to be stiffer, on top of feeling pain much quicker than usual. All of these are absolutely normal and will greatly improve after the first few workouts. However, Ωστόσο, high-intensity movements can be a risk of injury.

To return to pre-pandemic workouts, we must take into account the reduced ability of our body during this period, to avoid any unpleasant results.

Research has shown that beginners, as well as those with lower activity levels, are more likely to be injured when they return to the gym, with symptoms such as back or knee pain. To avoid this, you will need to reduce the pace and intensity of your workouts by 70-80% of your pre-pandemic routine.

Always make sure you warm-up before your workout. A warm-up is a form of exercise that takes place before the start of fitness activity. It aims at preparing the person organically, physiologically and psychologically for the exercise that will follow. This reduces the chance of muscle and tendon injury. Experiments have shown that the force required to injure a pre-heated muscle is greater than that required to injure a "cold" muscle. Also, the warm-up allows for better blood circulation to the heart, as well as to move the body load from the parts of the body that will not participate in the exercise to the muscles that will be exercised. Warm-up intensity should always be low. Our body thus becomes familiar with the warm environment and responds better. Start any exercise with short intervals of 15-30 minutes, and increase gradually.

We also suggest setting realistic goals to allow your body to adapt and focus on restoring healthy habits.

Drink water regularly. When the weather is hot, your body needs more water than when it's colder. We need to drink enough water to replace the water that is lost through sweat. Don't wait until you are too thirsty, to drink water. The optimal amount of fluid to be taken during light activity (eg. brisk walking) at a temperature of 32ºC is around 400 ml (about two glasses).

With our return to exercise, it is good to recognize everything that is happening in our lives and the factors that may affect us. Poor sleep, stress, diet, alcohol intake, our medical history and many other factors can affect our body's response and risk of injury. For example, fatigue can lead to poor focus and is associated with a high risk of injury.

Training control allows us to recognize when and how we should proceed.

If you are using UpFit, you can easily use our app to track your activities levels and duration for a set period. Professional athletes and coaches use this principle of "automatic adjustment" by monitoring how they feel and perform during the day. They can then modify the intensity and type of exercise based on that.

The benefits of exercise outweigh the potential risks of returning to the gym. Our enthusiasm should simply be mitigated based on our current situation and not our memory and ability in the past. If we are not sure how to get back to exercise, we can always ask our doctor for advice. They can assess your individual risks and give you specific tips on the best way to get back to the gym safely and improve your physical condition.

Get in touch to find out more about UpFit 💪

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