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ESSA urges a considered return to the gym

ESSA urges a considered return to the gym
June 10, 2020

Exercise & Sports Science Australia (ESSA) is reminding those returning to gyms to be mindful of starting slow and accessing advice before launching into their usual fitness routine.

As gyms start to reopen following the easing of COVID-19 restrictions, Australians can finally resume previous workouts they may not have continued during the almost three month lockdown period, or perhaps continue an exercise routine they started during COVID-19 on their own and unsupervised.

ESSA Chief Executive, Anita Hobson-Powell advises “While protecting ourselves and other people from the COVID-19 virus is important at the gym, we also need to make sure that we are exercising right for our current health and physical fitness because, for some, this may have changed significantly over the lockdown period.

“Although we are happy to see gyms slowly reopen across the country, by returning to a new or existing workout program too hard or too fast without a review of your current physical fitness status, some individuals may be placing their body at increased risk of serious injury which could be easily prevented with the right advice.”

Even for those who completed at-home workouts during COVID-19 confinement, they will still experience ‘detraining’ as a consequence of not having access to complete their workouts at their usual accomplished intensity.

Hobson-Powell adds “Research tells us that detraining can occur after just two weeks of not training in your usual manner with the same level of weights and intensity, and affects your muscle strength, size and endurance. Detraining can lead to injuries if the person attempts to jump straight back into their previous exercise routine after a period of no training or decrease in training load.

“We recommend that whether Aussies are returning to the gym after a break or kicking off a new exercise routine post-lockdown, they should consider talking to an accredited exercise professional for individualised advice to gradually introduce exercises and intensity of workouts to reduce their risk of injury.”

Accredited Exercise Scientists (AES) are exercise professionals with at least three years of degree level training who use exercise to improve health, well-being and fitness. Speaking to an Accredited Exercise Scientist before kickstarting a new gym program can help to ensure you keep yourself safe by exercising right for your current health and physical fitness.

Accredited Exercise Scientist, Nardine Presland notes “with the exception of those who had the ability to utilise a home gym and continue training at the exact same level and intensity, the fitness levels of most Australians have likely changed since lockdown. Especially for those lifting weights, if you have not maintained your strength training routine during the past few months, jumping right back into an existing program at the gym could be potentially unsafe and cause serious injury.”

For more information on ESSA go to

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