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The Top 10 Workout Injuries Of The Pandemic

New research from Bupa Health Clinics shows how the pandemic has changed our relationship with exercise. 

With gyms closed for so long, we’ve had to adapt our workout styles with little supervision, affecting our stamina and form, as well contributing to people turning to Google for their new lockdown injury:

Google search query:% Search increases: Summer 2019 – Summer 2021
pulled back muscle recovery time’929%
groin strain taking forever to heal’324%
pulled muscle in shoulder blade’164%

Bupa Health Clinics Senior Physiotherapist, Karen Gambardella, explains why there have been such substantial search increases and shares ways to prevent muscles, bones and joints injuries in these areas: 

“If you’ve not exercised for a while, finding a workout you love may leave you tempted to throw yourself into it.

Our research found that men are twice as likely as women to injure themselves during home workouts, too. 

This shows why it’s so important to build things up slowly, gradually improving your strength and reducing the chance of injury.

Along with easing your body into and out of exercising (warming up and cooling down), always make sure you’re using the right equipment for your workout, e.g., wearing the correct shoes.”

Why has there been an increase in searches for around pulled-back muscles?

“Lower back pain is really common – around one in three of us get it every year.

However, throughout lockdown, many of us spent more time than usual curled up in front of the TV or hunched over makeshift workstations – in the long run, this isn’t good for our backs.” Karen explains. 

“Regular exercise with good form is key to keeping your back muscles stretched strong, but these muscles are also prone to sudden injury if you’ve not used them for a while – especially during activities like weightlifting or contact sports. 

Think about the intensity of your workout, speak to a qualified trainer to review your form and don’t ignore any back pain – if you’re concerned, book a physio appointment.”

Why has there been an increase in searches for ‘groin strain taking forever to heal’?

Karen says: “A pulled groin suggests that you’ve been overworking your inner thigh muscles, which can be exacerbated by changing direction too quickly during exercise, like when running or playing contact sports.

Anyone who’s torn a groin muscle will know that it’s painful – don’t ignore that pain and be sure to rest up and apply ice.

If your groin muscle is taking a long time to heal, it suggests that the injury could be severe. With help from a physiotherapist, you can heal properly and often in less time.”

Why has there been an increase in shoulder pain injuries?

“Along with exercises like weightlifting and playing golf, household activities like home decorating and moving furniture are common causes of shoulder pain.” Karen shares.

“All of these activities can lead to overuse of the muscles around your shoulder joint, so if you feel soreness in this area, be sure to rest and ice the area every couple of hours for 15-20 minutes to help the muscle heal.

Again, a physiotherapist can help with this; tailoring a recovery programme once they’ve seen and assessed you.” 

Karen’s tips for avoiding injuries during your autumn workout

Always warm-up

“Aim to spend at least ten minutes warming up before any work-out. Stretching and elevating your heart rate will leave you prepared and armed for a good workout.’ 

Don’t underestimate your cool-down

“Cooling down is just as important as warming up, as it helps to gradually reduce your heart rate and get your body ready to recover.”

Stretch, stretch, stretch 

“Always make sure to stretch your main muscle groups for at least ten seconds after each workout. Your muscles contract when you exercise, so stretching helps them to expand again and prepares them to rest.” 

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