Returning to Exercise After an Injury

Returning to Exercise After an Injury

Anyone who has had the misfortune to go through a sustained period of injury or illness will be able to tell you that it takes some time and patience until you can get back to your best once again. The longer you are out, the more that your muscles start to deteriorate and your fitness levels start to decline.

Of course, the last thing that you want to do is return too soon. You may have had to go through a period of physiotherapy, and it is certainly worth making sure that you complete your exercises and rehabilitation thoroughly. It is very important that you listen to what your body is telling you as you are on the road to recovery. It should signal you when you are pushing yourself too hard – and it is important that you don’t ignore these signs. No two injuries are the same and different people need different recovery times.

Before you return to your regular exercise regime again, here are just a few of the main things that you should do.

Take it Slow

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The last thing that you want is to sustain another injury which leaves you on the sidelines for even longer. So, start off with a few minutes of gentle exercise. Allow yourself more recovery time than you would normally to help you get back into the swing of things. Stay patient if you find that you cannot return to normal as soon as you would have liked. If you don’t seem to be experiencing any problems, you can gradually start to increase your time spent exercising over time.

Begin with Gentle Forms of Exercise

There are certain forms of exercising such as running which can be very hard and stressful on your joints and muscles. Instead of doing something so strenuous, you could try a more gentle type of working out such as walking or swimming. Start off slow, listen to the response of your body, and if everything goes according to plan, you can start to build up the amount that you are doing.

Keep a Diary of Your Progress

Keeping a track of your progress lets you see how you are tracking
Keeping a track of your progress lets you see how you are tracking to keep you motivated

When you are returning from injury, it can sometimes feel like you are treading water and not getting anywhere particularly quickly. To combat this, you can keep a diary in which you detail your fitness sessions and the progress that you are making. There may be some days when you feel like you are slipping backwards, but as long as you keep making forward progression overall, this is something which is quite reassuring.

Work with a Professional

We already mentioned working with a physiotherapist earlier in this article, and there is no doubt that this is something which some people find to be hugely beneficial. This way, you have someone who can assess your recovery progress and make suggestions about how you can change things up and improve. As well as this, a good physiotherapist can also provide you with a complete muscular evaluation which determines any areas of muscle weakness which you need to work on, plus any physical imbalances which you may need to deal with. Over time, you may need to make adjustments to your workout program, and they can also help you in this regard as well.

Don’t Ignore Pain

‘No pain, no gain’ is a motto which many people espouse, but if you are experiencing pain when you are coming back from an injury, this is not something which you should ignore. Pain is a signal that you have gone too far or done too much during an exercise session. You need to get some rest and recovery into your sessions. If you keep experiencing the same pain again and again, this is something which is worth investigating further with an expert.

Pay Attention to Nutrition and Hydration

Your body needs everything that it can get on its road to recovery, and this certainly includes proper nutrition and hydration. A balanced diet is important to maintain, as well as plenty of anti-inflammatory foods such as leafy vegetables. And you should also make sure that you drink sufficient water, especially when you have been working out and the weather is hot and intense.

Check Your Body Afterwards

When you have rested after an exercise session, you need to check your body for any signs that something isn’t quite right. First of all, you should check that you don’t have any swelling as this is a sign of inflammation. See if you have a full range of motion, comparing the injured part of your body with the uninjured parts. You can also check to see if your strength has returned in the same way. For lower half problems, you should make sure that you are walking properly without limping. If you notice that any of these things are not as they should be, avoid pushing yourself in a way which is going to be problematic.

There is no doubt that prolonged injury can have a seriously negative impact on the body, and you need to do everything you can to return to 100 percent health and fitness as soon as you can. This means not pushing it too hard, listening to what it is telling you, and giving it the fuel that it needs to speed up your recovery. Bear in mind that even if you feel at your best, the injury may still be lurking there beneath the surface, and it is worth taking care for several weeks or even months.

Of course, the advice found in this article is intended only as a guideline to follow and you should always consult with your physician when it comes to deciding on the right time to return to exercising and physical exertion. You don’t want to risk causing yourself any further damage and holding up your return to full fitness any further. Take your time, stay patient, and you will be back on track before you know it.

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