Pandemic rust? 3 in 4 have injured themselves while getting back into shape

NEW YORK — Three in four Americans have recently suffered an injury while working out — and a new study suggests the pandemic is to blame.

The survey of 2,000 U.S. adults reveals that nearly seven in 10 abandoned their fitness routines during the pandemic. While 88 percent are determined to return to their pre-pandemic form, getting back into shape has proven to be far more daunting than expected.

Over half the poll (56%) say an injury in the past is to blame for not getting back into their favorite physical activities, and 41 percent blame the pandemic. Setbacks such as wearing masks during workouts (60%), catching COVID-19 (58%), and changing the types of exercises they would need to do (57%) impacted their exercise routines.

Getting back into shape too quickly

According to the research conducted by OnePoll in partnership with CURAD, four in five have recently injured themselves while training — only adding to their workout woes.

Of them, 64 percent think they jumped back into their routine too quickly after being sedentary for too long, 56 percent returned to their competitive sport activities too soon, and 45 percent either pulled a muscle or moved too quickly.

Eighty-five percent of respondents overall say their injuries had prevented them from getting back in shape, with 92 percent taking their injuries into consideration when working out and 90 percent changing their routines to accommodate the injury. Still, nearly half (46%) fear their injuries will impact their future physical performance.

“It’s important to ease back into your old workout routine, especially if you’ve been away for a while,” says NCAA Team Physician and Orthopedic Surgeon Dr. Gloria Beim, in a statement. “Jumping back in too quickly can put you at risk of pulling muscles or even more serious injuries.”

exercise injuries

Healing up on the fly

Four in five (83%) say their desire this year is to get back to their “peak performance days” — which would be around their prime at 28 years of age, on average. Respondents add that the most common injuries they’ve experienced happened to their knees (37%), hands or feet (36%), torn muscles (36%), and ankles (35%).

The study also found it takes the average person 10 weeks to recover from an injury, but many don’t want to wait that long. Several people shared tricks they’ve used to help speed up the healing process — such as using therapy oils (43%), orthopedic braces (42%), and foam rollers (41%).

“Give your body a chance to build up its endurance and muscle memory,” Beim adds. “Using the proper fitness gear, including supports, wraps, kinesiology tape, bandages and cooling sprays can also help you get back into the game.”