How to Safely Ease Yourself Back into the Gym After the Covid Crisis

Have you returned to the gym yet? Depending on where you live, gyms and similar indoor fitness facilities might have been back open for a while, or they might be reopening soon. You might be wondering how you can ease yourself back into your gym workout safely as we emerge from the worst of the pandemic.

Here are a few tips to help you get back in the groove as quickly and safely as possible:

Have a plan

There’s nothing worse than walking into the gym and feeling confused or demoralized because you don’t know what exercises you should be doing. The best way to combat this is to make a plan before you go.

How you structure your workouts depends on your goals and what works for you. Will you focus on one muscle group per visit (i.e. “arm day” and “leg day,”) or will you divide your workout into cardio, strength, and stretching sections?

Create at least a rough outline of your workout before you hit the gym. This will have you feeling confident and ready to go.

Go when it's quiet

Going to the gym when it is quiet has a few benefits. If you’re still nervous about Covid, you’ll feel more comfortable with fewer people around. You also won’t find yourself wasting time waiting for machines, or feeling pressured to rush your sets, which can result in injury.

Some of the quietest times at most gyms are 9am-noon and 2-4pm. If your gym has late or 24-hour opening, going late at night can also work well for some people. Do what works for your schedule and don’t be afraid to experiment.

Don't Skip Your Warmup

Warming up properly before a workout is crucial to preventing injury and maximizing your performance. Never skip the warmup phase of your workout. This is particularly important when you’re easing back into a regular gym routine after extended time away.

Stay Hydrated

Even slight dehydration is bad news for your body, especially when you are trying to keep fit. Always keep a bottle of water with you at the gym, refill it regularly, and drink as much as your body wants. It is very hard to overdo it on water, and keeping properly hydrated will help improve your performance, help with recovery, and reduce the risk of dehydration symptoms like headaches.
If you're not sure how much to drink, keep an eye when you go to the bathroom. Hydrated pee should be clear. If your pee is yellow, or even brownish tinged, it means you need to drink more water.

Don't expect to pick up where you left off

Unless you’ve kept up a rigorous home workout practice, your fitness will have dipped during your time away from the gym. Start slowly and do not expect to dive right back in where you left off a year ago. Your fitness will recover fairly quickly if you pace yourself. Rushing can lead to injury, which will slow you down more in the long run.
Enjoy your workout!

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