Working Out After an Injury

author image by AFP | Fitness | 0 Comments | 04 Jun 2018
man preparing for training after injury wrapping hands

        After an injury, it can be difficult to recover and get back into good shape. Injuries require rest, which means that physical activity is not an option for you until your doctor tells you that you can work out again. When you recover, you may find that you cannot exercise as effectively and as efficiently as you used to because your body is no longer accustomed to high intensity workouts.

        Injuries are common among people who engage in serious physical activity. When you put pressure on your bones and muscles, they sometimes start to function improperly. Your muscles start to break down and you might start experiencing inflammation and bone damage due to certain metabolic shifts. If you do not allow yourself adequate recovery after a workout, you can increase your risk of injury and other types of longer term damage. Additionally, some forms of physical activity can also test your balance and you might end up falling and injuring yourself.

        Following any sort of injury, you might want to try to get back in shape as fast as you can. While you should definitely resist the urge to push yourself too hard, it still might be a good idea to try getting back in shape as soon as your healthcare provider says it is okay to do so. After all, working out definitely improves your overall quality of life. If you do the right types of exercises, you can also reduce some of the pain that came as a result of the injury. However, you should be aware that working out will definitely not be as easy as it used to be.

man with injured ankle attended by doctor in gym        When you rest for a long time, you start to lose some muscle and endurance, which means you are not going to have the same aerobic capacity as you did before the injury. You will not be able to push yourself as hard as you used to, especially if you had to take a break that lasted longer than two weeks. This does not mean you should start working out exactly two weeks after an injury. Make sure you listen to everything your healthcare providers tells you to do, which means your injury break might last long enough to negatively impact your workout.

        Therefore, when you start up again, you should start small. Take more breaks and lower the intensity of your workout so that your body can adjust. Otherwise, you can increase your risk of injuring yourself a second time. You might be able to exercise for the same amount of time as you used to, but you might want to slow down a little bit. For example, try alternating between walking and running. You should also definitely try to avoid lifting heavier weights because lifting too much can actually result in nerve damage. Your healthcare provider may even tell you to ditch lifting altogether until you are ready.

        In order to avoid the temptation to return to the same level as exercise as you used to, you might need to avoid training groups and competitions. Training with too many other people might make your competitive side cause you to push yourself too hard. If you do go back to some sort of training group, you should let as many people as you can know the extent of your injury so that you do not feel as though people are judging you for taking breaks and going more slowly than everyone else is. At the very least, tell the instructor what your limits are so that the instructor can make sure that you are not going beyond those limits.

        It might be difficult to resign yourself to lifting lighter weights or running shorter distances. However, try focusing on what you can do. You do not have to avoid the workouts that got you injured in the first place forever and you should not be afraid to try those workouts again. However, until your doctor says that those workouts are okay, you can try different types of exercises in the meantime. Concentrate on exercising the parts of your body that you have not significantly injured. You may not be used to these new exercises, but it can actually help you avoid future injury. Any muscles that you have never focused on before are going to be more susceptible certain types of injury. By starting to exercise these new muscles, you can avoid injuring them and your entire body will be healthier and more equipped for physical activity.

runner with knee support taking a rest        Changing the focus of your workouts can also be important if you have a more permanent injury. For example, if you are in a wheelchair, you might have to change up your workout routine completely. Research actually shows that wheelchair users can benefit from getting help from a personal trainer of some sort. Support from a personal trainer does not seem to make a significant different for improving strength or improving your aerobic capacity.

However, it does seem to make a different when it comes to increasing the amount of time that you spend exercising. After all, permanent injuries can definitely cause you to feel too discouraged to work out again, which is why it is important that someone helps you find a consistent exercise routine that works for you. It might not do much help you get stronger, but exercising more often still can help you improve your quality of life. It prevents multiple diseases and it can make you happier.

        Indeed, many people suffering from longer term injuries can also suffer from depression. When you lose your mobility, you sometimes start feeling useless, especially if you used to be the type of person who used to engage in a lot of physical activity. Therefore, returning to the gym can definitely help you with managing this depression, but you should definitely try to feel more comfortable with doing less than you used to. You might eventually be able to do everything that you once did; however, if you never regain your old strength, you should simply focus on the different workouts that you are capable of doing.