Haven’t been to the gym since lockdown? Here’s what you need to know

Published: Tuesday, May 18, 2021

WellnessAll SportSport & Fitness

Haven’t been to the gym since lockdown? Here’s what you need to know.

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The good news is that the relaxing of lockdown restrictions have seen many South Africans returning to the gym. However, it is imperative that people avoid injury by listening to their bodies and by safeguarding their health through practising stringent Covid-19 protocols as they start getting back into their fitness routine. 

Philip Marais, Head of Health Solutions at Momentum Multiply, notes that the number of Momentum Multiply members who have returned to the gym or fitness centres since the easing of restrictions, is still relatively low. 

During the hard lockdown in April 2020, the number of Active DayzTM recorded dropped to 25% compared to the numbers recorded before Covid-19, with members earning Active Dayz through steps and calories at their homes and in their security complexes. Following the reopening of commercial gyms, Active Dayz recovered to 65%, with members earning Active Dayz through calories exceeding pre-Covid numbers. Members earning Active Dayz through steps also recovered to about 85%. However, gym visits for Active Dayz remains below 50%, indicating that members are slightly apprehensive about returning to the gym.

“Of course, we would like to encourage our members to be more active and reach pre-lockdown fitness levels. At the start of 2021, there were no members with a green Healthy Heart Score and 16 or more Active Dayz per month, that had a severe Covid-19 outcome. We also make a point of encouraging those who have no comorbidities to engage in physical activity to maintain their good physical health, as well as reap the positive mental health rewards associated with regular physical activity.”

With this in mind, Marais says that commercial gyms and other training facilities operate under the recommendations of the National Consumer Commission (NCC), who adjust lockdown restrictions as required. “Remember to follow the preventative measures and safety protocols as you return to the gymnasium.”

In addition, when returning to the gym after a long hiatus, make sure to avoid injuries brought on by pushing yourself too far, too soon. Here are a few tips: 

•           Don't forget to warm up.
•           Start off slowly.
•           Allow adequate rest between gym sessions.
•           Set realistic expectations for yourself in your first few weeks of returning to the gym.

“Being physically inactive reduces motivation, disrupts healthy routines and habits, and makes it difficult to get started again. On the other hand, the more active a person is, the better resistance they demonstrate to the advancement of age-related chronic conditions. This is why we have a vested interest in seeing more of our members become physically active,” Marais concludes. 

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