Preseason?...but I don't play sport!
We are all familiar with seeing all the sporting teams engaged in extreme pre-season training in preparation for their upcoming season, but besides working hard to have a successful season, what else are they gaining during this time? The answer is capacity.
Over the pre-season the players are enhancing their body's capacity to cope with the demands placed on it in the year ahead. Improving capacity also decreases the likelihood of non contact injuries.
We (us non-professional athletes) all have different levels of capacity for different activities (demand). Consider the individual who works as a gardener x5-6 days/ week compared with someone who does regular weekend maintenance. The person who works as a gardener has capacity to cope with successive long days of gardening, whereas our regular maintenance gardener is likely to exceed their capacity by undertaking a major gardening project (demand) in one day. The result, at best some delayed muscle soreness, and at worst an injury requiring lifestyle modification for several weeks. The above example is a common story told to physiotherapists by patients presenting to the clinic.
Another problematic period where demand can exceed capacity is when we increase or start a new physical routine of some description. It doesn't matter if it is running, cycling, swimming or gym training. The demand will always exceed capacity initially but the balancing act is to keep the demand below a threshold that may cause injury. What is that threshold? That is very individual. Occasionally the injury will occur 4 weeks into the routine as the demand placed was too great from the outset. Again, this scenario is often reported in physiotherapy practices.
A final consideration regarding your body's capacity is when for various reasons a period of relative rest has occurred. It may be that you had a well deserved holiday break or for a period of time physical activity was not prioritised. Even though our mind is willing and can vividly remember usual routines or past times, the fact is that our body's capacity is affected by time off and the body's response will be the indicator if demand exceeded capacity.
Tips to avoid overloading your body's capacity
Thanks for reading and have an active day!