With restrictions lifting and people being able to take a new hobby further, or feel they can pick up where they left off, I thought it would be good to get some insight from industry professionals to gain some advice to share with you. I was lucky to get the opportunity to speak with Karen from Linlithgow Physiotherapy:

Sean: What made you become a Physiotherapist?
Karen: I was a competitive swimmer as a teenager and developed a shoulder injury (I now know it was one of my rotator cuff tendons)
for which I had physiotherapy treatment. It was the physio herself who planted the seed and when I looked into it further decided it was a good option.
Sean: How has lockdown been for Linlithgow Physiotherapy?
Karen: We, like most other businesses had to close at the start of lockdown as healthcare went to “emergency only”.  This allowed us both some time in our gardens and using the exercise time to keep active and healthy, both of us doing some running as well as walks in the local area.
As it became obvious that the first lockdown was going to be significantly longer than 2-3 weeks, we were able to do some remote sessions, using video-calls to assess and advise people on self treatment.
We were able to re-open for face to face treatment of urgent cases, worsening pain, from July last year.  This involved significant changes to our normal practice to incorporate all the guidelines, including use of PPE and  bigger gaps between appointments to allow for cleaning and aerosols to settle etc.
We have, however, been fortunate that we have been able to remain open, albeit with reduced capacity, since then and have seen a rising demand.  Many of our enquiries being from people who have developed symptoms while working from home and seeing a change in their usual activities.
Sean: As restrictions are eased and people start to get ‘back to what they
used to do’ by way of physical activities’ what advice can you offer to
help prevent injury?
Karen: A lot will depend what people have been doing throughout the previous year and how their physical health as well as mental have been.
Some may be significantly fitter or more active, albeit not in their previous chosen sport/activity while others may have moved only from kitchen to “home office” to sofa.
For many who have been shielding either due to underlying health conditions or their age, walking the length of their local High Street or their regular shopping centre/garden centre could pose a big challenge.
I think the biggest thing that people need to remember is that you need to be “match fit” for whatever activity it is that you are returning to.  This means using current activity levels as a baseline and building up gradually to whichever activity it is you used to do.  For many sports/activities there are programmes available (for example Couch to 5k for runners) but the key is not to increase time/distance/resistance too quickly.
Sean: A long, fun day can be had outdoors whether that be walking,
climbing, paddling, cycling or other. With any exercise comes fatigue
and stiffness. How would you advise people to help their bodies recover
after a day of outdoor activities?
Karen: Make sure they have rest days as well as active days, so not planning too many days back to back initially.
After any chosen activity there are many benefits to recovery from doing general stretches for your muscles, specificity will depend on the chosen activity but back, legs and shoulders can all benefit from stretching after a day’s activity, before driving off.
Make sure you take on board plenty fluid and food afterwards to aid recovery and energy levels.
Sean: It’s snack time – sweet or savoury?
Karen: I am largely a sweet tooth!
Sean: Tell us something interesting about your job that we might not know?
Karen: The largest part of diagnosing a condition comes from what people tell us about it.  (which is why we ask very specific questions as part of our assessment)
(The best bit of our job is seeing an improvement in how someone feels, either from something we have done or suggested and in helping someone achieve their goals.)
Karen and Pamela from Linlithgow Physiotherapy have worked together for over 25 years. This means you are in safe, experienced hands. To get in touch with them to discuss your needs please click here