Load Management and Return to Exercise

Load Management and Return to Exercise

EXERCISE: how to start, get back into or increase your exercise routine


Everyone would agree that you feel better when you exercise and move your body, but how to start, start again or increase your exercise routine has many people confused. With continuous easing of restrictions, we wanted to provide some information to help you get back to exercise with minimal risk of injury.

The most common injury we see when people start increasing their exercise, is what is known as an overload injury. By definition, this is when a muscle or joint that has too much load passed through it, causing an injury.

So how can we condition your body to cope with the load that you’re placing upon it?


Load Management is the answer.


Load management is a strategy to control the amount of pressure and adaptation your body is put through as you exercise, over a set time frame. It is the way AFL, NRL, NBA and most athletes will manage their exercise/play time to make sure they are 100% for the “big game”.

To decrease your change of injury, the general rule is a 5-10% increase in your activity level, fitness regime or training load each week to month.

That means if you start running 2km, you can run 2.2km the next week. If you squat 50kg in one week, the next 55kg is the max. If you are not doing any exercise, you start slow with a walk around the block and slowly increase. This is also true with a change in exercise, if you are normally a runner and change to weights, or if you are normally a cyclist and try to go for a run.

There are different ways to manage load during exercise, such as:

  • Rest days
  • Decreasing time exercising (instead of 30min run, try a 20min run)
  • Decreasing intensity (instead of trying for 4min 1km, try for 4.5min 1km)
  • Increase breaks or rests between exercises
  • Decrease weight if doing strength exercises
  • Changing the exercise from a run to a walk or cycle


To start exercise again or for the first time, we recommend something gentle like swimming, walking or bike riding. Do less than what you think you can do, and slowly increase up to your goals. Remember, your body takes time to adjust to new or the reintroduction of movements, and this timeframe is different for everybody. Be patient and listen to your body.

Remember to also recover optimally from your exercise regime with a warm up, cool down, stretch, massage (foam rolling, Osteo treatment) and slow walk, to help manage your body. If you are unsure about how to start exercise again, or introduce more weight or avoid injury, speak to your Osteopath for more advice.



We’re happy to answer any questions you might have, please email us if you need any advice!

– Ainslie Morris (Osteopath)

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All images sourced from google