Recovering from injury through activity
Anybody who is active will have suffered injury from time to time – hopefully not too often though! And one of the hardest aspects of dealing with an injury is knowing how little or how much to do on your way back to fitness and full activity.
You have got the all-clear from the doctor, your physiotherapist has said you can start doing some exercise again, so long as you ‘take it easy’ – but what does that mean?RELATED: RECOMMENDED PLANS FOR YOU
Should you run straight away? Would a gentle bike ride be the best way back? Is yoga going to put too much strain on your body?
Some people will be terrified of doing more damage and so will be tentative in their approach to exercise, while others will be so frustrated at the long lay-off that they will hurl themselves back into training.
And when people say: ‘listen to your body.’ what do they mean? Should you listen to it creaking, cracking and snapping, or should you stop at the slightest ache?
Unfortunately there is no simple and absolute answer; it really is a question of trial and error. If you are getting a few aches and pains after exercise this can be a natural element of exertion and these will recede and disappear after a day or so.
That is just your muscles getting used to moving again. If you are getting sharp pains as you exercise, or the pain following activity does not ease after a couple of days then you are doing too much, too soon.
But whatever you do, don’t give up! Be prepared to adapt your training. It might be a step too far to run straight away, but you can still go for a brisk walk.
Circuit training might be a no-no for a while, but pilates or yoga could be the perfect replacement. And don’t forget the curative qualities of water – for people worried about piling on the pounds while they cannot run, an hour in the swimming pool will burn calories and keep you mobile whilst protecting your limbs from impact.
Take an anatomical and logical approach to your exercise. Wherever your injury occurred you are likely to have a weakness there now, so think of your training as a means of re-designing your body.
If you suffered a knee injury, then ensure your new exercise regime builds up the muscles around the knee so you have protection from injury in the future.
A back problem can be helped by strengthening the core muscles connected to the spine and by improving overall flexibility in that area.
The same muscles are taking most of the pounding and subsequently will be the muscles that suffer most.
By introducing new activities into your exercise regime, your body will become more balanced as you are using a greater range of muscles and you will get the stimulation of learning new skills and movements.
By taking a new approach you could emerge a fitter, stronger you.