It's been months since any of us have stepped foot in a sweat-infused sanctuary of bright lights, thumping club anthems and whirring machines. Gyms have started reopening on government advice across the country, which means we'll soon be able to get our fit back on. And what better way to maximise your time back at the gym than with your contact lenses! From uninterrupted freedom of movement to better clarity and seamless peripheral vision: exercising with your contact lenses can help you make the most of any activity.
Whether you've missed the concept of exerting energy next to strangers or are dreading returning post-lockdown after too much banana bread, we've put together some eye care tips to help you get geared up again for your grand return with healthy and comfortable vision.
Keep it simple to start
We know it's been a rough time and not all of us have emerged with a Joe Wicks-inspired frame. The important thing is not to rush back and expect to be able to handle the same intensity or volume of exercise immediately. Set yourself a schedule that will help you slowly acclimatise to avoid injury, as experts suggest it will take at least a month to 6 weeks to reach your fitness level pre-lockdown. It's also important to wear daily contact lenses when working out, as soft lenses fit your eye comfortably and securely, blocking any sweat from running into your eyes and causing that stinging sensation we all hate. Plus, they are more breathable and allow more oxygen through, keeping your eyes fresh and healthy - everclear ELITE for example, our premium exclusive lens, ensures comfort for up to 12 hours a day. Dailies are the most hygienic option too, as they can be disposed at the end of the session, without worrying about maintenance.
Reduce weights and reps
No body is the same, but some good advice to take on board is that you should drop your weights to 50% of what you were doing pre-lockdown. If you stayed active during that time, increase your weights by 15% each week, and for those less used to regular exercise, increase your weights by 10%. A similar approach should go for reps, and if you're struggling with motivation, just pick a workout buddy and you can cheer each other on. Masks aren't compulsory in the gym, but if you choose to wear one during your weight training or skipping session, wearing your contact lenses can help stop your glasses fogging up.
Stretch it out
Ideally, you should be stretching every day, but if Netflix has been all too consuming recently then it's vital that you start up again. Your muscles will be especially tight when getting back into exercising, so make sure to incorporate some stretching afterwards and warm up before. Yoga is great for working on your flexibility and calming your mind, too. In the middle of your downward dog pose, you don't need to worry about your glasses slipping down your nose with your contact lenses in either. Swimming is another way to de-stress and ease back into exercise, but take out your lenses before doing a lap.
Stay clean and careful
Just like other shared spaces, the gym also poses a high risk of catching coronavirus, so before entering confirm that your branch is taking the correct hygienic measures and implementing social distancing. Take extra care when using equipment and avoid touching your face or rubbing your eyes. Many gyms have closed their changing room facilities, so bring your hand sanitiser with you and handle your contact lens routine at home (remember to wash your hands frequently with antibacterial soap). The NHS has also stated that clothes and towels may spread germs, so after your gym excursion, wash these items at 60°C with a bleach-based product.
A gym comeback calls for additional rest time, and with many of us now working from home, there's no excuse for not getting enough shut-eye (7 to 9 hours of sleep when exercising is recommended). You should take a 48-hour break between sessions - and remember, even if you're worn out from a core conditioning class, always take your contact lenses out before sleeping. Also up your intake of water to stay hydrated, especially in the summer, and to refresh agitated, dry eyes, pop some eye drops in your gym bag.
Exercise your eyes
Your eye muscles shouldn't be neglected either, especially with all the increased screen time - a digital break at the gym is a great way to give them a rest. Remember, there's also a variety of eye exercises to soothe tired eyes, strengthen eye muscles, improve circulation and keep symptoms of eye strain at bay. If you take a breather from the gym and head out for a lunchtime run or a Pilates session in the park, ensure your lenses have UV protection to block any harmful rays.