Exercising After Injuries: 10 Tips on Working Out During Recovery

exercising after injuries

Did you know that only 22.9% of adults exercise enough? If you’re part of that statistic, it can be frustrating to have an injury derail your fitness plans. You shouldn’t continue to exercise vigorously if an injury occurs, but there are ways to stay active during recovery.

This guide will go over some tips on exercising after injuries, so when you do get back to your regular routine, you’ll be feeling good as new.

Ready to learn more? Let’s get started.

1. Talk to Your Doctor

First things first, you’ll want to talk to your doctor. Each body and injury is unique, and it’s important to get personalized care if your injury affects your day-to-day. Putting off medical attention will prolong the recovery process.

There is always a chance you might need physical therapy or surgery for a full recovery, and only your doctor will be able to confirm that. You don’t want to self-diagnose an injury. 

Your doctor will also be able to consider your fitness level and determine the right timeline for your recovery process. 

2. Take It Easy

If you’re recovering from injuries, you’ll want to ease back into exercise with caution. Your body is likely not ready to head straight back to the gym after an injury. It can make the situation worse and set you back longer.

Don’t be afraid to take it easy and ease your body back by using gentle movements. Depending on the injury and your tolerance level, you can easily increase the intensity of your physical activity little by little.

Don’t exert all of your energy at once. The right way to recovery is to take it step by step.

3. Listen to Your Body

Pain is your body’s way of letting you know that something is wrong. If you’re ignoring this by taking painkillers and exercising anyway, you’ll be pushing your body before it’s ready. Don’t use pain medication before you exercise, and listen to your body during the recovery process. 

Feeling some discomfort is normal, but if you’re feeling extreme pain, then it’s time to stop and rest. It may be time that you lower the intensity or pause your workout routine so you can heal. Pushing through workouts can lead to another injury or more time away from the activity you love. 

4. Start Stretching 

One of the best exercises you can do as you recover is yoga. In fact, any sort of stretching activity works. If you are able to go back to the gym, stretch before any type of workout.

Stretching elongates your muscles and can help prevent injury and strain. It also helps ease muscle soreness and stiffness. Add at least ten minutes of stretching before you start to work out. 

5. Switch Up Your Routine

It can be difficult to step away from your regular routine while you recover but allowing your body to let you know what you can and can’t handle will go a long way. You might be able to work through some mild soreness and pain but don’t try to push through any serious pain. 

Instead, switch up your weekly workout schedule. Choose exercises that aren’t as challenging or limit the range of motions or weights used in your workouts. Focus on the duration more than the intensity. 

Not only will lower impact moves continue to build up your strength, but they will help protect your injury until it’s healed. Get creative with your new routine and take comfort in knowing it’s only temporary.

6. Get a Personal Trainer

If you’ve never had a personal trainer, you might want one as you recover from an injury—particularly someone who can work with an injured client. A personal trainer can help prepare an exercise routine that adapts to your injury.

They’ll be able to take any information you get from a doctor and simultaneously push you while making sure you don’t injure yourself any further. 

7. Go For Walks

There are a handful of options for cardio when you’re injured, but one of the best options is walking. This is the most natural movement of the body, and it’s a great way to recover while staying active.

There are plenty of cardiovascular benefits to walking, and it’ll help release endorphins which will help fight the blues of being unable to work out at the gym.

8. Use Light Weights

If you’ve been exercising for a while, you’re probably used to lifting heavy weights. You’ll want to lighten things up if you’ve been injured. Look for weight lifting exercises that don’t require heavy weight training.

Jumping back into intense strength training too fast can lead to a longer recovery time and can result in chronic muscle injury. Start with lighter weights and gradually increase the weight as you recover.

9. Active Recovery 

Active recovery is a process that helps you reduce the risk of further injury and heal from your current ailment. Depending on the type of injury you have, active recovery can take many different forms.

With that said, let’s look at some of the common aspects:

  • Physical therapy
  • Gentle exercise
  • Good nutrition and hydration
  • Cryotherapy
  • Stretching
  • Plenty of rest

The benefits of active recovery all ensure that you have a quick and efficient recovery.

10. Focus on Nutrition

What you put inside your body will determine the speed and ease of your recovery as well. Proper nutrition and hydration will help your body heal and keep your weight in check while you pause intense physical activity.

Lowering your caloric intake after an injury can be tempting, but it should not be a dramatic difference if you decide to adjust. Focus on drinking enough water and eating plenty of healthy foods. 

Tips for Exercising After Injuries

Most workout injuries will heal on their own in four weeks or less. For the average fitness enthusiast, this is a long time to go without physical activity. Luckily, you can continue to stay active without interfering with your recovery process. 

Follow these tips on exercising after injuries, and you’ll be good to go. Remember to always consult a medical professional if you’re unsure of what is safe to do. 

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