A RETURN to organised sports and gyms could create a whole new wave of injury-prone, sports exercise experts warn after treating an onslaught of iso injuries in Ballarat.
Lake Health Group senior physiotherapist Michael Pierce says he remains impressed at the numbers of people still out running and walking the lake during lockdowns. Ballarat has been bucking the general pandemic global trend for people opting for more couch time.
Mr Pierce said the problem was in people overestimating what load their bodies could handle. His team has seen a rise in patients with injuries from trying new activities or changing up their loads too fast. For example, a 75-year-old swimmer with a sound aerobic base who swapped to running but tore his calf muscle or the cyclist who ran the lake three days in a row and developed acute knee soreness.
Or, there were those who hurt themselves from inappropriate home gym or online exercise classes, not tailored to their individual needs.
Mr Pierce said while it had been great to see so many people active, more education was needed on how to do it right - and the same went for people moving back into football or netball training this month.
The body has a certain capacity to load and you cannot bottle fitness.Michael Pierce, Lake Health Group senior physiotherapist
"The body has a certain capacity to load and you cannot bottle fitness," Mr Pierce said. "Even if you have been fit, having three to six months off any sport you need to start back in baby steps. If you overload, injuries will happen...Seek professional advice for any niggle or injury."
Elite strength and conditioning coach Chris Radford said sports like football, netball and basketball coming back was both an exciting and scary time.
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The RADcentre founder said only those who had been putting in the work during this time in suspension would be able to come back to the game at some similar level fitness, but there were still big risks for high-impact sports.
"A big one is athletes in their mid-20s who for the first time since they were maybe 10 have had any time out of structure sports. If they play basketball or netball, high impact sports, a few times a week then go from nothing. They have to be careful," Mr Radford said.
"The other thing is no exposure to any contact group training can increase injury risk - ACL is a big one - due to the change in load. Limited access to the gym limits the capacity and resilience you get from contact reactive-based training."
Limited access to the gym limits the capacity and resilience you get from contact reactive-based training.Chris Radford, RADcentre strength and conditioning coach
Mr Radford said it would not end well trying to condense eight weeks of poor training into a quick, hard two-week dose.
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