If you’re physically active, you’ve probably experienced an injury or two. And with injury comes impatience and an eagerness to return to your fitness routine immediately.
While it can be frustrating not doing anything and missing your reps every day during an injury, recklessly working out without a plan can worsen your injury and prolong your frustrations. Fortunately, you can engage in light exercise while recovering from your injury. Here are some tips to follow:
- Get Your Doctor’s Approval
It’s easy to tell yourself that you’re okay and ready to work out again. However, does your doctor agree with you? You must talk to your doctor first and get their approval before lacing up your sneakers. Your hasty decisions will do you more harm than good.
You shouldn’t return to your workout routine until the stiffness, swelling, and pain have improved. Even if these subside, your bodily tissues might not fully heal, so don’t risk it. Only a doctor can determine if your body can now handle the stress of a physical workout. So, always get the green light from an expert.
- Get Help From Expert Therapists
In general, your doctor may recommend an injury rehabilitation center to help you on your recovery journey. A hands-on therapist can provide you with a comprehensive program tailored to your needs. They will help you get back to your workout routine as soon as possible.
In addition, an expert rehab therapist can help assess when you’re ready to get back to your usual routine and ensure that your injury doesn’t happen again.
If you don’t know where to look, you can ask your doctor to refer you to a rehabilitation center. Also, a simple Google search can provide you with an assortment of the recommended site of established injury rehabilitation centers in your area.
- Go Slow
It’s natural to want to go back to your usual routine after an injury. But take it easy. If you go back to the gym and exert all your energy or run as you did before right away, you run the risk of injuring yourself and a more serious one at that.
Keep in mind that during the period, you weren’t able to work out, which affected more than just the injured area. Getting a break from your usual routine means you lose your flexibility, strength, and coordination–not only where you were injured but your body as a whole. This deconditioning, along with adjusting your movements to compensate for painful and weaker areas, is how most people get hurt.
So, when working out again after an injury, take things slowly. As a rule of thumb, you should start at about 50% of your ‘normal’ level. For instance, if you used to run three miles, you need to walk 1.5 miles and add more distance every week as you progress to jogging and then running again.
- Stop When In Pain
‘No pain, no gain’ is a motto that most people live by. But in terms of recovering after an injury, pain equals more pain.
Pain is your body’s signal that you’ve done too much or gone too far. And in terms of recovering from an injury, even the slightest pain means you should stop moving or try a different workout. Or you can also modify your workout routines to prevent pain.
For instance, if you hurt your knee while running, you can try a low-impact activity such as swimming instead. If you hurt your wrist, then hiking or other lower-body activity can help you keep moving without disrupting your injury recovery. Basic yoga and stretching can also stretch out your muscles safely while making you sweat simultaneously.
When returning to your fitness routine, always aim to perform stretches and exercises in a pain-free range of motion. Perform movements slowly and with more control. Also, only use your body weight as resistance for now.
- Eat Well And Stay Hydrated
Physically active people know that eating well and staying hydrated is essential to your fitness routine. But even more so when recovering from an injury.
After all, the right food plays a critical role in your body’s healing process. It also ensures that your joints are strong again. Make sure to eat a well-balanced meal and add more foods that support injury recoveries, such as protein and fatty acids. Also, stay away from junk food and alcohol during this time.
An injury is a huge setback in your daily workout routine. And while returning to fitness after an injury can be a slow, distressing process, following the above tips can help you have a steady recovery and eliminate the risks of more serious injuries. Always listen to your body, be patient, and you’ll be sweating again in no time.