Exercise and injuries…
How many of you have “taken time off from the gym because of an injury?” I personally know most of you reading this, most should raise your hand. Go ahead, raise it.
OR… Does this sound more like you?
How about you just go to the gym but stop doing the thing that hurts and just ignore it, hoping that the pain will just go away and you will once be able to wean back into it
Okay… speaking from experience, taking time off and begin injured is really not fun. It is also really not fun to have to modify your workouts, right?
WHY? Let me take you through a few scenarios…
It reroutes your routine First off, your normal routine gets all messed up because for most of us, the gym is part of your daily or at least weekly routine. This impacts not only the rest of your day but also your social life. If you aren’t going to the gym, then you aren’t seeing your friends. On the other hand, let’s say you are going but you are modifying – still not as satisfying as hitting it hard, no limtiations.
You’re sluggish You feel sluggish, you begin to lose your energy level and start to feel out-of-shape. You begin to feel like the endurance and strength you have build will all be lost.
Fear You begin to be a little concerned that your pain is not going to go away. You know that it is still there because you tested it a few times on a run and yup, it is still there.
Concern Okay, now it is really not getting better… but it is not really getting worse? You are not sure where to turn or who to talk to.
So… I have been injured, I get that you don’t always want to ask for help. Time will go by and most things get better with time. You are spot on… However, there are a few things that can really speed up the process when you are injured.
Here are 4 tips that can really help speed up the process of healing while being injured:
- KEEP GOING TO THE GYM
- KNOW HOW TO MODIFY
- KNOW HOW TO WEAN BACK
KEEP GOING TO THE GYM.
Most people I know still do this and there are HUGE benefits!
- Continuing to go to the gym helps maintain your fitness and work on other areas of weakness that you may have been neglecting.
- Keeps you in a regular routine. This one is HUGE! You MUST have a routine to keep yourself sane. There are many times that you HAVE to take a break from some activity or movement for a short period of time, but you MUST know how and when to modify.
KNOW HOW TO MODIFY.
Many people use pain as a stop sign, it hurts so STOP. Well sure, sometimes we need to do that but it is also important to still use that body part or region of the body during other activities!
Here are some examples of how to work through let’s say, a knee injury…
Knee pain with running?
Try the elliptical The elliptical is a great option to substitute as well as fast walking. Keeping yourself on the treadmill or road is very important. If you are a runner and love that runners high but can not run right now, throw on a weight vest and get after a 45 min walk at a fast clip – you will be surprised at how much your heart rate will skyrocket.
Get stronger Strength training for the lower body is a main-stay for knee rehab and time off from running is a great time to begin to emphasize it. Strength work will no only help rehab the knee while it heals, but it will also dramatically improve your running performance once you are back on the road… a WIN WIN!
Knee pain with squatting?
Modifying the weight, the speed, and OR the range of motion can be the best way to modify when it comes to pain with squatting.
- Weight If it does not feel great to squat with weight, make it a little lighter and increase the reps to still get something out of the workout
- Speed Slowing a movement down can be a serious challenge… If you are having knee pain with squats, try squatting SLOW – 3 second count on the way down, 3 second hold at the bottom, and a 3 second count on the way up. It will get real spicy, real fast! It is a great way to get. Good training effect without heavy weights
- Range of motion Maybe partial squats are where it’s at for you right now, because deep squatting is painful. Well guess what, that is FINE! Partial squats have many benefits and if you are still training the squat but just changing it up a bit for a while, you are doing GREAT!
KNOW HOW TO WEAN BACK
This is the hardest part for anyone… Patience is key and understanding the steps you need to take is very important.
- Give it time So… You have been feeling really good, you do a test “run” to see how your hip is feeling and it feels great! I would not suggest trying to run again, tomorrow, farther, faster. Stay at the same level of intensity for at least 10 days and do not repeat the activity more than 2-3 times within those 10 days. At that point, you can progress, but only if you feel 100% confident.
- Continue your rehab So… You are rehabbing yourself or working with someone and have been strengthening things up. Great! Keep doing it and make sure the routine aligns with your goals and is progressive! Your rehab / strength work needs to get harder and progress.
Everyone’s rehab from and injury is different. Every client we see is a human, there are life things that have to be taken into account, different goals, lifestyles and routines. All of that plays a HUGE role in HOW to wean back from an injury. I am hoping that this gives a little insight on how you may be able to apply this to your own injuries or pain you have been dealing with.
Questions? Let us know or find yourself a solid rehab team to get you back on your feet.