How to Return to Exercise After Injury
April 11, 2018 at 12:04 PM
Top tips for getting back into fitness after an injury
Every injury is unique and different. Your injury recovery process will have its own course, schedule and limitations. So it can be difficult to know when it’s safe to return back into a fitness regime, have the motivation or confidence to do so and not allow re-injury to occur. The tips below can help you to work through a process returning back into the fitness world safely:
1. Consult with your doctor and physiotherapist
It is critically important before returning to exercise to get the OK from your doctor/physiotherapist and to follow their advice. Follow your physiotherapists prescribed treatment plan as each different type of illness, injury and the extent to which physical changes occurred will affect your return to physical activity.
2. Listen to your body
It's extremely important that you listen to your body and be patient as you navigate your way through recovery. Although your body does have muscle memory, after an injury you need to be aware that your body loses conditioning quickly when you stop exercising. Make steady progress beginning with a nice gentle form of exercise for the body such as walking, swimming or low impact exercises. Listen to your body’s response and focus on gradually increasing your duration rather than intensity of the exercise. A good guideline is to start at about 50% of your "normal" level and increase only 10% to 15% each week, assuming your symptoms don't flare-up during or after each session.
3. Integrate the correct warm ups and cool downs
It is vital to make time to warm up and cool down in the correct manner. A warm-up routine will allow your body to prepare cold muscles and joints for your workout. It should consist of light dynamic stretching, mimicking the exercises that you have planned for your workout, as well as some foam roller or massage ball releasing if needed. Cooldowns can include static/holding stretches for particular muscles that you have performed in the workout, to help release tight muscles and promote circulation to flush out waste products created while exercising. Extra cool down stretches or rolling out on the foam roller a few hours after the workout, also helps the body to recover faster.
4. Find a personal trainer to support you through the process
It is helpful to work with someone who can assess your ability to incorporate certain exercises into your fitness regime and determine your readiness to progress. Working with a personal trainer can help to ease the nerves of starting back into your exercise regime. They will support and work with you on the correct exercises for your muscle weaknesses or imbalances, modify exercises to take the strain off injured body parts, watch and correct your exercise technique and set up a personalised training programme that you can use confidently when exercising on your own without aggravating your injuries.
5. Incorporate injury programme exercises into your routine
So you have been given the all-clear from your physiotherapist - however, this is not a sign to completely stop doing the treatment plan that they assigned to your injury rehab. These exercises help to strengthen/ stabilise/ stimulate/ elongate the particular muscles around the injured area. So if these exercises have helped you in your recovery process so far - why not try to integrate the main exercises into your workouts!? Continuing with the main physio exercises/stretches 2-3 times a week while getting back into your fitness regime again is going to help these muscles to stay strong and developed to prevent the injury from occurring again. A personal trainer can also help to integrate these exercises into your 1-1 sessions or home/gym programme as well.
Adele Griffin is a qualified Personal Trainer who is passionate and committed to getting her clients on their journey to a healthier lifestyle. Adele works in our Newmarket clinic and does One-on-one sessions as well as duet and trio personal training sessions. For more info on personal training click here or book an appointment with Adele here.