Are you ready for the winter season?
As we can all attest to, the COVID-19 pandemic has presented us with challenges we never thought we’d have to face in our lifetimes. Certainly, one challenge I did not take to very kindly. was the challenge of maintaining a “normal” training schedule or routine. With restricted outdoor exercise time, LGA/radius restrictions, closures of gyms and other recreational spaces, every training idea that popped into my head seemed to be met with a closed door.
Like with many sports, it can be reasonably easy to keep up the running side of things, however when delving into sports specific skills, many of these unique patterns unfortunately had to be neglected. This includes but is not limited to sport specific positions/postures, game intensity, speed and change of direction movements, opposition contact etc. These are difficult things to replicate outside of your designated training. For me, it has been almost 9 months since I have picked up a hockey stick and boy oh boy did my body HATE me when I finally did.
We all get a bit lazy during off season giving our bodies what we think is a well-deserved “rest”. Unfortunately, with the prolonged and recurring lockdowns we have faced over the last 2 years, it’s not just the obvious things like aerobic fitness that suffers. With prolonged in-activity comes increased risk of injury, and here are some reasons as to why……………………….
Much like our brains, our bodies function best with consistency and challenges. Our tissues (muscles, bones, tendons, ligaments etc.) become familiar with certain “loads” over a period of time, and with gradual increases in load they learn to structurally alter and tolerate these forces. The concern surrounding such long periods of lockdowns is that, even if you have still been exercising, it is unlikely that you have been meeting the same strength and/or neuro-muscular requirements needed in sport specific environments. Therefore, your usual strong and robust tissues have “slacked off” and can no longer tolerate the loads they have become accustomed to.
This upcoming season especially, we expect to see a higher incidence than usual of injuries like:
- Overuse injuries
- Muscle strains/tears
- Stress reactions/fractures
- Synovitis or joint overload injuries
- Ligament sprains
To minimise your risk of injury this upcoming season try the following:
- Accept that it will take time to return to pre-lockdown fitness/strength. You can’t return to your original training load and expect to pick up where you left off
- Gradually increase training intensity, duration and type
- Ensure to incorporate different types of training and recovery. Use preventative measures to look after your body
- Consider including cross-training activities as part of your training – like swimming or cycling to allow for ongoing/extra strength and aerobic training but in a minimally weight bearing way
- Gradually increase your sports specific training and skills
- Most importantly listen to your body
Lake Health Group