Exercising When Injured – It’s Possible!
One big factor in holding back people to exercise is injuries. Whether they be reoccurring injuries, one-off injuries or problems that someone has had for a long duration of time. In some cases, the individual would need to get the green light from a doctor or physio before participating in any sport or exercise. In other cases, there’s no problem if the individual figures it out for themselves. People must learn the difference between pain and being uncomfortable. When it comes to injury ‘pain’ then it is best not to push the injury and make it worse. If the injured area is feeling uncomfortable during an exercise, then it isn’t necessarily a bad thing – it may mean that the physiology and anatomy around the area is just working a little harder than normal.
Lower extremity injuries are the most common, this includes knees, ankles, fractures on the leg and the foot. If this is the case and the injury has had a few days of healing time, you feel okay within yourself and you feel fit and healthy enough to begin exercise you can begin doing some work on the upper body. If this needs to be off-feet and non-weight bearing there are many exercises you can complete. Alternatively, if your injury is upper body then there are many exercises that can be completed with the lower body without stressing any injuries in the upper body region. The most difficult area to avoid is the back and neck due to the structure of the body and the muscles and joints that engage and work with the back! If this is the case, I would highly recommend getting a second opinion on when to start exercising again and the types of exercises to begin.
One physical sign to look out for when exercising and recovering from injury is the increase in heart rate. The increase in heart rate can create a throbbing-like feeling when exercising which people find uncomfortable but also mistake for pain. Another tip would be to try out different exercises that you know won’t affect the injured area but that you wouldn’t usually do. This gives you some exciting adaptions in exercise and the ability to complete sessions without finding doing the same things tedious. From there, focusing on a particular body part for the session may help with reaching targets and goals within the rehabilitation phase of your injury, e.g. you have a knee injury so focus on shoulder exercises on Monday, back and chest on Wednesday and biceps/triceps on Friday, along with your rehab work on your knee when you feel.
Remember, many exercises can be adapted to the injury! If you have a broken ankle and cannot stand, many upper body exercises can be completed sitting down or on fixed machines. If you have an elbow injury and cannot lift any weight through your arms then lower body exercises seated or on fixed machines are effective also.
It is important you listen to your body but also put yourself in the best position to recover stronger than before. Working on different elements of fitness and muscle groups could give you a head start in your rehabilitation process. Let us know how you’ve helped yourself get a head start in recovering from an injury and/or which exercises you’ve found to be most effective while being injured.