Dealing with an injury is not only painful but can be frustrating as well when you’re sidelined from your regular fitness routine. If you’ve ever been injured or had to sit out due to illness, you know that deconditioning happens very quickly. In fact, muscles begin to shrink within days, and cardiovascular fitness starts decreasing after two to three weeks without training. The good news is that there are ways you can stay in shape even while recovering from an injury. Here are our suggestions:
1. First things first, see us before getting back into any form of exercise, especially if you have a back or neck injury. We can determine if it’s safe for you to begin physical activity and develop a rehabilitation program to keep you healthy.
2. Seek alternative methods of exercise. There’s always something you can do to work around your injuries and maintain a level of fitness. Low impact workouts like swimming or aqua aerobics are often good ways to exercise while injured.
3. Focus on training un-injured areas. If you have an ankle or leg injury, try a circuit of exercises that don’t require you to stand up and use your lower body, such as chest presses, seated rows, and core workouts you can do on the floor. For an upper-body injury, you can still get a great workout in by using just your legs (think leg presses, lunges, and the stationary bike).
4. Focus on creating or improving other healthy habits like getting more sleep or eating nutritious foods.
5. Lastly, be patient and give yourself a break. Rest and time are essential parts of the healing process. Take care of yourself physically and emotionally. When you’re able to jump back into your old routine, you’ll have hopefully been able to maintain a reasonable level of fitness by using these tips.
Cliff Atwell, B.S., D.C.