If you recently suffered an injury, it is still possible to stay in shape while you recover. Here are tips on working out while recovering from injuries.
There were approximately 8.6 million sports and recreational-related injuries per year between 2011 and 2014.
Some of the most common sports injuries include ACL tears, rotator cuff tears, shin splints, groin pulls, and tennis elbow.
Sustaining an injury can be a major disappointment, especially if you had specific exercise goals in mind or you were competing in some way.
When recovering from injuries, it's important to give yourself plenty of time. For those people who can't stand to sit still, there may be other ways to stay in shape while you heal. But, this also depends on your specific injury.
Keep reading below if you want to learn seven tips to working out while safely letting your injury heal.
1. Recovering From Injuries? Ask Your Doctor
It takes time and patience to recover properly from an injury. Some injuries may heal in a few weeks while others may take months or years before you're back to normal.
Every person also heals differently. Your recovery process may not match someone you know who had the same injury.
The most important thing to do before exercising after an injury is to have a conversation with your doctor or physical therapist. They will evaluate the injury, how well you've healed, and give you safe recommendations.
2. Your Type of Injury Determines What You Do
The first thing you have to do is consider your injury and think about what alternative exercises you can do. It may be a while before you can do full-body workouts again.
In some cases, you can work around the injury. Or you can do other exercises that leave that area alone.
For example, if you have a knee injury or osteoporosis, you could try low-impact walking or elliptical training versus traditional jogging.
Depending on where your injury is you could just work on the opposite side of your body. People with shoulder injuries, for instance, can dedicate more time to training their legs and core.
3. Make Plenty of Time for Warming Up
Warming up is one of the best ways to loosen up your body for a workout and avoid an injury. This is important to do whether you're long-distance running or powerlifting.
When you warm-up, you're basically performing similar movements to prepare your muscles and tendons. One example would be walking briskly for 10-15 minutes before a run.
If you're doing bicep curls in your workout, use bands to mimic the movement before weight is added.
Find a way to do an easier version of any movement first. That's warming up.
After raising your body's temperature, you'll want to do some static stretches on the muscles that are about to be used. These are stretches incorporating natural movement.
4. Consider All Options for Cardio
Even though an injury may potentially keep you out of the weight room for months, it doesn't mean you should neglect your cardiovascular health.
There are so many fun and creative cardio exercises you can find online. These can help you stay fit, relieve stress, and assist in healing.
What are some examples of creative cardio options? Dancing, trampoline work, pool aerobics, hula-hooping, or even walking stairs.
5. Strength Training: Lower Weight, Higher Reps
When you're finally cleared to lift weights, you want to be very cautious in the beginning. Muscle mass is so important to overall health, but you don't want to reinjure yourself.
Experts recommend starting off lifting light weights with higher reps. And don't use the weight you recorded yourself doing months before your injury.
The smartest thing to do is pick up weights that are only a few pounds then gradually work your way up. Check your ego at the door.
Take everything slow and stop immediately at any sign of pain. This is your body warning you about a potential injury.
6. Focus on Proper Form When Exercising
Good form is key in weightlifting, but it's also a key consideration for people who run marathons or swim competitively.
Doing any movement the right way prevents injury and boosts athletic performance.
Let's be honest, the reason you're injured in the first place probably has to do with your form. You need to do exercises the right way to stay healthy.
Start from scratch and fix your form before increasing intensity.
Consult with a physical therapist or spend a few minutes talking to your trainer to ensure you're on the right track. The last thing you want is another injury.
7. Eat Well & Stay Positive When Recovering
Most athletes or fit people will experience a bout of depression after an injury. This is because exercising was such a large part of their life and defined who they were. It's perfectly natural to feel down about it.
Try your hardest to stay positive throughout the healing process. Research has actually shown that your mental attitude can affect healing.
Furthermore, you don't want to be miserable for weeks and months. Take care of your mental health. Light exercise can help, (if you're cleared to do it) and get plenty of sleep.
Nutrition plays an integral role in how you feel and how your body fixes the injury. Take vitamins, drink plenty of water, and eat foods that fight inflammation.
Inflammation is your body's natural response against an injury or infection. You need to keep it in check. Nutrition can help.
The truth is many people find it challenging to create a healthy nutrition plan. They don't know what's good or bad. Consider hiring a nutrition expert to assist you.
Don't Let An Injury Sidetrack Your Goals
Sports injuries are a bummer because you need to take time off to heal. But, in some cases, you can find creative ways to workout while recovering from injuries.
A physical therapist or professional trainer can help you make a plan to be safe when returning to exercise. Just remember to take it slow, be patient, and follow some of the tips we provided above.
Would you like to speak with one of our trainers about how to get started after an injury?
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