If you’re reading this article shortly after it’s uploaded then we’re all in the middle of lockdown #2 here in the UK – slightly less severe than the first but drastic enough to once again cause significant change to all our lives.
I’m taking this opportunity to glance at the type and cause of problems and injuries that people appear to have become prone to as an indirect result of Covid-19. This is obviously a very small and very short-term snapshot, anecdotal evidence at best, but can you spot yourself or anyone you know in any of these?
WALKERS & RUNNERS AND PREVIOUS NON-WALKERS AND NON-RUNNERS
Who are walking and running (more) and have injuries
to knees, calves, ankles and feet
GYM & FITNESS CLASS GOERS AND OTHERS WHOSE FACILITIES CLOSED
Returning to the gym or class after lockdown and picking up
shoulder and knee injuries shortly after
PARENTS AND GRANDPARENTS
Partaking in more exercise with children and finding new back and hip aches,
perhaps as a result of trying to keep up with inexhaustible little people?
FITNESS CLASS ATTENDEES
Who’ve swapped one fitness class a week for two or three different online classes
and have developed back/neck/wrist problems
OFFICE & DESK-BASED WORKERS #1
Working from home, no daily walk to and from e.g. the station, perhaps now working at their kitchen table,
less impetus to get up and wander around, less social interaction and incentive to go out for lunch,
feeling more lethargic and less inclined to exercise outside of work – cases of low mood,
weight gain and neck/back issues may be the result?
OFFICE AND DESK-BASED WORKERS #2
Binned the commute and now have at least two hours extra each day in which to finally
get fit, have gone for it but have niggled their ankles and knees
Who have acquired dogs and horses and are now committed to several hours extra each week caring for and exercising with
their animals and whose new injuries – shoulders, elbow – could be related?
Renewed enthusiasm, variety, an opportunity and a new and different learning experience – a change can be a very good thing. The caution point to bear in mind however is that:
A change is the most common causative factor of injury anyway and it is definitely the most common that this Physiotherapist has seen this year.
If you’re going from none to some, for something different or to more, any change can be managed by…
These points are KEY if you want to avoid injury.
Here’s a neat little graph with a slightly technical explanation:
To stay injury-free, your load and frequency need to keep you UNDER the red line.
Keeping under the green line will result in you maintaining your fitness, getting no fitter but also not getting injured.
Generating load and frequency to put you between the red and the green line will enable you to increase your fitness and not get injured.
Work too hard and/or too often – too much load and/or frequency – and you risk pushing over the red line and picking up an injury.
How any one person stays in the ‘sweet spot’ between the red and the green lines will be unique and different to how the next person achieves this.
Any change can be stressful, even those perceived as being good. Covid-19 has touched us all in different ways so be kind and considerate of your own – and others – individual circumstances. But social interaction, having purpose and something to do, getting up and getting out, raising our heart rates and not sitting around like sloths are all really important, particularly as this abnormal lifestyle rolls on. Recognise what’s best for you, do your best and look after yourself and those around you and we can all come through this healthier and wiser.