Scared of getting injured when football resumes?

So you’re missing your football and feel a bit like a smoker who’s just been told to quit (OK, maybe not, but you know what I mean)? Don’t worry, you’re not alone! Have you been waiting for months, telling yourself: “When football starts up again I’m going to play every day”? Then you need to be careful and make sure you don’t get carried away and risk picking up an injury when you get going again. Here’s some advice on what you need to do to stay injury-free when football starts up again (and it will, one day).

Coaching running with the ball with your child at home

There is, at a time like this, a very strong urge to get back into football quickly and to give it your all when you do. Having been starved of the ball for so long, it’s understandable that you want to get back into the way of things. But you need to be careful because injury, every football player’s nightmare, is sure to rear its ugly head once again when the pandemic is over. That’s why you need to work your way back in gently, with a specially adapted programme.

Lockdowns, curfews and uncertainty about the resumption of football – the enemies of motivation

Did you manage to stay motivated during the first lockdown? It’s easier when the weather’s nice, when it’s the first time you’ve had to stop playing in the middle of the season for a reason other than injury, and when you think the situation’s only going to last a few weeks. But nearly one year on, and after a short-lived resumption and months without kicking a ball, this is an altogether different story.

So let’s assume that you’ve let yourself go a bit and that you got bored of doing workouts in front of the TV with your partner or your kids and that going for a run at night is something you’re not prepared to contemplate. Here are some tips to help you ease your way back into action (and for the more competitive among you, to perform). Some of them might seem obvious, some of them less so.

Scared of getting injured when football resumes?

Keep training to a minimum – your body will thank you for it

With the excitement of working out every day during the first lockdown having long since gone, let’s talk about the pace you need to maintain to stay active in the coming days.
First up, I recommend you exercise three or four times a week. You can, for example, use equipment or your own body weight to work on your muscles. There are a whole host of great exercises you can do without any weights or equipment. From two-legged or single-leg squats, press-ups, pull-ups and chair dips to planks, sit-ups, pike push-ups, skipping, burpees, there are so many to choose from. (Here’s a little cardio session you can do at home: Here

Scared of getting injured when football resumes?

If you’re not that into working on your muscles, you can just try to stay active and have fun while you’re doing it. Try to go out for a weekend run or bike ride, for example. If you live near woodland or a nice big park, go out for a walk with your family. You can also go for a run on your own or with a friend or family member. And if you’re lucky enough to have a garden, you can have a session with your children there: HERE).

Investing in a punching bag can also be a great way of working on your cardio fitness, working off stress and building your muscles. There’s nothing better for working your whole body than battering a punching bag.

THE IMPORTANCE OF FOOD AND SLEEP

I’m not asking you to go on a diet. It’s almost impossible when you’re working from home (in my case at least). You should try to avoid sugary and fatty food nevertheless.
It’s important that you keep enjoying food but you do need to keep an eye on what you eat. If you like sugary food, cut down to a reasonable level and don’t indulge every day. If burgers and kebabs are your thing, don’t stop eating them altogether but cut down to one or two a week. By eating properly, which doesn’t necessarily mean super healthily, you can give your body the chance to ease back into running without the risk of picking up an injury.

I also recommend you avoid binge-watching your favourite series till the wee small hours every day, and not just because you’ll regret finishing it too soon. Without getting too technical about it, going to bed at around 11pm, for example, gives your body more time to recover and regenerate and to secrete those all-important growth hormones that help build and maintain your muscles.