Exercise after a Pandemic

Exercise after a Pandemic


Cross fit has been exploding in the last several years. The attraction is the community aspect. The variety of exercises and the challenges they pose to the average weekend athlete. My office is filled with cross-fitters with all sorts of injuries. Usually, however, they are not from the veterans but the newbies. People who haven’t worked out at all in years suddenly find themselves flipping tires, lifting heavy weights, and challenging pull-ups. They were not prepared for this and something breaks down. Returning to the gym after this pandemic will require some preparation.


So much of what sports medicine treats is what we call “overuse injuries”. Injury to the body when the frequency and /or load applied exceeds the ability of the body to heal. Working out causes muscle damage. The muscle then repairs itself with rest. We get stronger. Repeat. But sometimes it doesn’t heal. Causing a tear of a muscle, a tendon, or a ligament.


The bone can also break down causing a stress fracture. A small crack in the bone is not always visible on X-ray but causes severe pain. The classic cause is someone who runs just 5 miles per week suddenly increases to 15 miles per week. With no gradual increase or ramp up.


So many of you are dying to get back to the gym. Me, I can’t wait to get back to my indoor rock climbing gym. A great total body workout.

We are all at risk of injury if we go back too fast. You are going to have to realize that you can’t lift the weight you were lifting before the gym closed. Starting a little over is a must to avoid tendonitis or worse a tear.


Pain is the symptom that will clue you into a problem. It’s not always easy to tell the difference between the normal pain you may feel when benching ie. your Max vs pain of an injury. Things to look out for:

1. Pain that doesn’t resolve within 2 hours of workout

2. Swelling

3. Discoloration – ie. Black and blue

4. Deformity – change in the appearance of a muscle during or after exercise

5. Fatigue – stop or switch to another exercise if fatigue sets in quickly.

Pay attention to your body. Give yourself at least 6 weeks of training to get back to where you left off with your exercise.

Hopefully, we will all be back to the gym soon. Healthy and safe.

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