Do You Need to Be Reconditioned?

The onset of lighter, brighter days means many of us are tempted to kick our workout routine into a higher gear come spring. While the lighter evenings suddenly make a 5K run after work much more appealing, many of us will also start to think about working towards summer fitness goals with a bit more dedication.

While the sudden urge to improve fitness levels is undoubtedly positive, this time of year is commonly when most doctors and trainers report seeing a huge influx of injuries, brought about because of what experts call ‘winter deconditioning’, essentially long periods of inactivity over the winter months. When physical activity drops, lots of changes occur such as changes in blood flow and muscles and joints becoming weaker. All of this means that when you do decide to pick your workout sessions back up, your body isn't quite as prepared as it once was, which can lead to a higher risk of injury. If you already suffer from weakened joints and the cold winter weather has made them more vulnerable, doing too much too soon come spring increases the risk even further.

To avoid any nasty surprises when you pull out your trainers for the first time in months, a measured approach is essential. Even if you have previously run long distances or worked out intensely, if you’ve taken it relatively easier over the winter, you need to start slowly and build up gradually to help your body acclimatise. Brisk walking is always a good starting point and can be easily incorporated into your day without finding excuses to cancel. Gradually build up the duration of these sessions and schedule them into your day as you would an important meeting.

Once you’re used to moving your body more again, talk to your trainer or an expert about the best way to reintroduce other forms of exercise and try to set some mini goals that will be easy enough to achieve and help build your confidence. Finally, consistency is key, so it makes sense that if you enjoy doing something, you’ll want to do more of it. Figure out what kind of exercise makes you happy and build your new routine around that.