An estimated 8.6 million Americans get injured every year while engaging in physical activity. It can be extremely frustrating not being able to participate in your favorite sports and keep yourself fit and healthy due to an injury, but one of the best things you can do is to take some time to recover to prevent injuring yourself further. Doing some light rehabilitation exercises can help to keep you moving and strengthen your body, but it’s important not to push yourself too hard too soon.
Change your workouts to suit your current fitness level
An injury can result in weeks or months away from a sport, if not years. The healing process can be long, and may result in a complete decline in your fitness levels and even weight gain. Once you’re ready to exercise again, start by doing some light cardio, such as walking on a treadmill at home, where you can do several short sessions throughout the day as often as you like without worrying about traveling to the gym and back.
This will help to improve your fitness and strengthen your muscles so that you can work up to jogging and then running. Gradually work your way up to more intense exercises and getting back to your sport.
Listen to your body
‘No pain, no gain’ is a common saying in the world of exercise, but exercising shouldn’t cause pain. You may experience an uncomfortable feeling at times, but pain is your body’s way of telling you to stop.
Pushing through the pain can take you back months if it worsens your injury, so it’s never going to be worth it.
Rest and recovery time are just as important as the exercise, especially following an injury. Sometimes we need to hear this over and over for us to really listen and take the advice!
See a physiotherapist
In some cases, you may need to see a physiotherapist, usually for more serious injuries or recurring injuries. A physiotherapist can give you personalized exercises that will help to strengthen the injured body part and work towards getting you back to your favorite sports.
They usually make a step-by-step program that can last weeks or months where you have set goals. Even if it’s your first sports-related injury, getting help from a physiotherapist can help to prevent an injury from recurring once you’re back to your sport.
Never rush back into exercise before you’re ready to, as it can exacerbate an injury and result in even more time away from activity. Ease yourself back into training or sports gently once you’re ready, and always listen to your body.