It is tempting to stay away from exercising when one is recovering from a physical injury. Yet not working out can potentially delay healing time and rehabilitation. According to Robert Ddamulira, a fitness trainer, a recovering patient needs to work with a personal trainer to create a routine that suits their particular needs. However, before starting the exercise, Ddamulira says one should first seek their doctor’s approval and recommendation for their desired workout routines.
“As a personal trainer, I advise my clients to get referrals from their doctors before we begin working out. It is also important to understand the nature of the injury in order to address the underlying problem before a return to full activity,” Ddamulira explains.
People who are out of shape usually suffer from hip pain, knee and ankle/foot injuries as a result of putting too much pressure on the joints. Poor posture while driving and computer work also increase the neck and shoulder injuries. “If you are recovering from an injury, do not stop moving because your body needs it to heal,” Ddamulira advises.
Allan Mutiibwa, a physiotherapist, notes that there are different ways to stay fit while recovering from injury. The important thing is to find an exercise that protects the injured part until it heals. Mutiibwa recommends starting with short sessions and increasing as the body heals.
“Most people who had regular workout routines before the injury may feel ready to resume. However, it is important not to push yourself too hard when starting out as even though you may think you are entirely healed, your body is not going to be at the same fitness level as it was before your injury. Working out at your previous pace might actually cause your body another injury.
Limit yourself to one workout a week and then slowly build up to your usual routine,” Mutiibwa adds.
Watch what you eat
Timothy Okia, a fitness coach at Gorilla Strength Gym, notes that what you eat contributes up to 70 per cent of your body fitness. In order for your body to continue to repair itself between workouts, you need to ensure you are eating the right food.
“Even if you work out religiously but eat junk, your body will struggle to repair itself and you will not see any results. Make sure you are eating a healthy, well balanced diet. Make an effort to eat the five food groups, including fruits, vegetables, dairy, meat and cereal on a daily basis,” Okia advises.
Mutiibwa recommends regular exercise for those living with chronic pain, stressed out executives, those recovering from neurological ailments, nervous problems and chest complications, among others.
ways to continue working out while recovering from injury
Ankle and foot injuries
If your ankle or foot is injured, you still have many exercise options. If your doctor approves it and you are able to, using the rowing machine, a stationary bike with one leg, or swimming are possibilities. You can spend 30 to 60 minutes about three times a week on that exercise to maintain endurance.
Leg and knee injuries
Leg and knee injuries can be fairly limiting since most exercises require the use of the knee joint, so developing a new routine may be frustrating. Some of the exercises one can do without using the knee joint include the plank exercise, side plank exercise and the abdominal crunch. Swimming may be possible if the person is not using their legs.
Elbow and shoulder injuries
For those recovering from shoulder or other upper body injuries, they can focus on doing exercises that fall on the lower body such as leg press, abdominal crunch, walking lunge, low back extensions, treadmill walking at moderate pace and two minutes at higher intensity.
Low back injuries
Back injuries can be difficult to recover from, so talk with your doctor about the specific type of back injury you have and your exercise limitations before you begin any alternate activities. Walking and swimming are generally safe for those with low back pain and this will help you maintain cardiovascular fitness as you recover.