How to Stay in Shape After an Injury

When an injury comes unexpectedly, not being able to exercise, like you used to, and, not knowing when it's safe to resume is inconvenient. And, while you know you want to get back into it as soon as possible, just take a breather for a moment. Injuries are no laughing matter. They are your body's alarm system that sets off when something is wrong. Therefore, you shouldn't go full speed ahead just yet. Instead, make an informed return to any type of exercise following a period of inactivity caused by an injury. Also, to avoid further harm, you must make cautious, pain-free progress toward establishing a good exercise base. With that said, here are some tips on how to stay in shape after an injury.

Before you do anything, check with your doctor

So, you think you are prepared to go back to exercising? You may believe so, but before you put on your sneakers, check with your doctor. Even if you feel you are mentally prepared, this does not imply that your body agrees. Therefore, consult your physical therapist or sports medicine expert if you've worked with them. They will tell you that you should not resume your sport or activity until the pain, soreness, or stiffness significantly decrease. Also, they will agree that pushing yourself too soon may cause your rehabilitation to take longer or worsen your injury.

A person with an injured knee getting checked by a doctor

The first step of getting back in shape after an injury is getting your doctor’s approval to start exercising

Prepare for going back to training

After your doctor or therapist has allowed you to resume training, take some time to reflect on how you got injured. Did you overwork, have all the safety equipment, or did you disregard your chronic pain and continue exercising?  At the same time, is it possible that you didn’t do anything wrong? Whatever the answer is, examining your mishap is always essential as it may teach you a valuable lesson.

In addition, now is also a good time to focus on remaining optimistic. Because most injuries are only temporary, it's a good idea to remind yourself that you'll be able to return to the sport or activity you liked sooner or later. It will take some time to regain your previous speed and strength, but it is not impossible.

Take things slowly

Remember that the time you couldn't exercise affected more than just the injured area of your body. Your overall strength, coordination, and flexibility decreased during the break. Unfortunately, many people get injured again when they decondition and change their routines to compensate for the weaker parts. It is typical to recover from an injury only to re-injure in a new location. So, if you have a sprained right knee, don’t place more weight on your left one to try and compensate. It will most probably lead to a new, and maybe worse, injury.

Instead, start with simple stretching and strength training. Walking, swimming, pilates, and yoga are exercises that might help you restore flexibility and range of motion without putting too much pressure on your body. To regain strength, do some bodyweight or band workouts or use cable machines and small dumbbells. At the same time, avoid Olympic weights and bench presses if you want to gain strength without overworking your body. In time, you can gradually add heavier weights and return to the shape you were in before the injury.

After recovering from your injury, start being active again with lighter training and exercise.

Maintain an optimistic attitude

While you're getting back in shape after a forced vacation, don't be too hard on yourself. Punishing or blaming yourself for missing workouts and the physical changes that come with inactivity will not aid your recovery. You don't have to be upset if now you are struggling with something that seemed simple a few months ago. So, refuse such meaningless ramblings. They are a waste of energy and time and serve you no good! Instead, pick yourself up, try again, and don't let negative thoughts contaminate your training environment.

However, if you have trouble mentally recovering from an injury, don’t hesitate to seek professional help. You can follow the advice of Consumer Opinion experts and look for mental health specialists that can offer online therapy. That way, you can recover physically and mentally after an injury from the comfort of your home.

Always listen to your body

While some people follow the "no pain, no gain" motto, this could not be further from the reality in the case of an injury. Pain is your body's way of telling you that you've gone too far or done too much. And even if a bit of discomfort is OK and pushing through it might help you improve, you should never be in agony. Also, you ought to feel much better soon after you stop exercising. So, if the pain is severe or lasts more than an hour following activity, you've gone too far. You may need to rest for a few days before attempting again, and when you do, keep it mild so that you feel good during and after your exercise.

If the pain during your workout gets unbearable, you should slow down.

Eat well and drink plenty of water

While intense activities are temporarily forbidden, it is essential to develop certain healthy habits. For instance, eating a healthy diet is vital for your recovery and can help you avoid gaining weight and stay in shape after an injury. At the same time, keeping yourself hydrated is also the key to recovery. Therefore, drink lots of water to help your body's healing process. At the same time, do avoid junk food, alcohol, and tobacco. They can not only slow down your progress and recovery but also endanger you. Instead, eating whole, natural foods and staying hydrated can help speed up your healing process.

Take care of your body, and it will take care of you

Unless you have a full-body injury, there is nearly always something else you can do to be active and stay in shape after an injury. Swimming, walking, and yoga are excellent general options. But almost any activity can be adapted to relieve discomfort and get back on track. You can also train with a professional to improve your strength and fitness so that you're prepared to return to full action when the time comes.