6 Steps To Getting Back To Exercise After Injury

6 Steps To Getting Back To Exercise After Injury

Someone called my clinic a few days ago and asked: “How long does it take to get back to exercise after an injury? 6 Steps To Getting Back To Exercise After Injury
I hurt my ankle a month ago and want to know how long it will take me to get back to running. It’s frustrating not knowing if it’s safe to get back out for a run…”
When something like ankle pain strikes or an injury hits you out of the blue, not being able to exercise like you used to and now knowing when it’s safe to exercise again is annoying. 6 Steps To Getting Back To Exercise After Injury
I know you’re itching to get back into it, but let’s just put the brakes on a minute…
Injuries are no joke.
They are your body’s way of sounding an alarm and telling you something’s not right, so we shouldn’t start back full steam ahead right away.
Instead, we should make an intelligent comeback to exercise, after taking time off due to injury…
It requires a gradual approach.
I know you’re dying to get back to normal and waiting if frustrating, but ask yourself this:
Would you rather make slow, pain-free progress towards building back to a healthy exercise level so you don’t risk another injury? During recovery, it’s important to listen to your body.
It’s all about trust. 6 Steps To Getting Back To Exercise After Injury
Your body will tell you when it’s ready to get back to doing certain things and when you’ve done too much.
Other facts that will have a significant impact on your return to exercise include;
Your age, how long you’ve been suffering from your injury, and what you do to get back to physical activity safely.
With that said, here are 6 steps you can take to get back to exercise safely, after an injury:

1. Take It Slow

It’s easy to want to go back to exactly what you were doing before an injury, but not so fast!
If you go back to running how you did before right away, or you go back to the gym and exert all your energy…
You do run the risk of making yourself weaker which means a higher risk of another injury!
Add to that your body has likely been out of exercise for a couple of weeks, it could be a little weaker.
Take it slow and go back into it gradually.
And if you feel pain – Stop.

2. Begin with Walking

It’s the most natural type of movement for the body, and if you’re injured, a gentle walk is one of the best ways to keep active.
Swimming is also a great form of gentle exercise. See how your body feels and gradually increase your time spent doing it.

3. Remember, Pain is Pain

While some people will live by the motto “no pain, no gain”, when it comes to an injury the motto is actually “pain, no gain”.
Pain is the body’s signal that you’ve gone too far or done too much.
Rest and recovery are just as important as re-introducing exercise so give your body time to recover so you can return to it safely.

4. Work on Your Balance

This might not be something that comes to mind right away…
But doing exercises to improve your balance in turn will improve your posture AND strengthen your core – which is essential to exercise safely.
Without a strong core, you run the risk of injuring yourself quick.

5. Eat Well and Keep Hydrated

Eating well and keeping yourself hydrated are key to recovery.
Food plays a big part in the body’s healing process and helps to make your joints strong again. Stay away from alcohol and junk foods during your recovery time.
Eating whole, natural, foods and drinking plenty of fluid (water!) will help speed up the process.

6. Consider Getting Help from A Hands-On Physical Therapist

A hands-on therapist can provide you with a step-by-step program tailored specifically to you and your needs, to help you get back to the exercise you enjoyed in the quickest and safest way possible.
A physical therapist will also be able to assess when you’re ready to get back to activity as normal, and will help make sure the injury doesn’t re-occur.
When it comes to your health, fitness and lifestyle, it’s important to listen to expert advice!  That way you can be sure to get back to running and activities much quicker and safer, just like you deserve. 6 Steps To Getting Back To Exercise After Injury

6 Steps To Getting Back To Exercise After Injury

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About the Author

Andrew Vertson

Andrew received his Bachelor’s Degree in Exercise Science from California State University, Fresno in 1991. He then earned his Master’s degree of Physical Therapy in 1996 and his Doctorate degree of Physical Therapy in 2002 from Loma Linda University. In 1996 he also earned his Certification as an Athletic Trainer. He has also completed extensive post-graduate course work in orthopedic manual therapy through Kaiser-West Los Angeles and the Ola Grimsby Institute.

He has more than fifteen years of clinical experience, and extensive continued education in outpatient orthopedic and athletic settings. During that time, he worked with professional athletes from the NFL, NBA, NHL, Major League Baseball, in addition to numerous Olympic gold medalists and movie & television personalities.

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