An injury can be devastating on your fitness journey. Regardless of how careful you are and your ability to practice the correct techniques, at times, there is no avoiding an injury, no matter how many precautions you take. But the recovery time to allow your body to heal can set you back on your goals and be frustrating, especially if it puts you out of action for a while.
However, making sure you get back to your fitness levels safely after an injury can help you avoid making the injury worse and putting your recovery time back further.
Check out these top tips for returning to exercise after an injury.
Get Your Doctor To Sign Off
Maybe you feel ready, but does your doctor agree?
Ask your physical therapist or other sports medicine expert; it could be that you require pre-workout experiences and stretches to get your body ready for returning to the gym or other physical activities.
Pain, swelling, and stiffness should subside before returning to your sport or activity. Pushing yourself too soon could prolong your healing time or worsen your injuries, so get expert approval first.
Support Your Body
As you get used to working out again, you can benefit from using support tools to help your body recover and heal while allowing you to return to your previous fitness levels gradually. Learn how to tape a shoulder, strap a wrist or ankle or use back supports to help you to avoid any other injuries.
Take It Slow
Whether you have had five days or five weeks off from your usual routines, you should avoid going back hard and heavy on your first few outings. This is because your body will need time to get back into the swing of things, and you most definitely won’t be able to pick up where you left off, nor should you try to either. Take it easy at first and gradually work up to it.
Mix It Up
Cross-training, or working multiple portions of your body, is essential. It keeps you fit while your wounded body parts heals. It can also help you avoid re-injury.
If you damage your knee while biking, try a low-impact exercise like swimming. If you fall and hurt your wrist, hiking or any lower-body activity will help you heal while you move. This is really important if you find your injured body part can’t take the workout, focus on different areas to give it more time to heal instead of pushing through pain or reduced capacity.
Pay Attention to Pain
A little pain is OK. A lot of pain or new pain isn’t. Pushing through a minor ache while exercising can help your progress and aid your recovery. But you shouldn’t be in pain, and you should feel better afterward.
If the discomfort is severe or lasts an hour or longer after your workout, you’ve gone too far. You may need to relax for 1–3 days before trying again. And keep it light, so you feel comfortable before and after your workout.