The key to exercising after injuries is knowing what to expect. Some people recovering from injuries push themselves too hard and don’t listen to their bodies. This was demonstrated by a 2015 study where 36.2% of injuries at fitness facilities were due to overexertion.
These people end up dragging out their recovery process and don’t see the results they want. In some cases, they may even reinjure themselves and have to start the process from the beginning.
In this article, we discuss setting fitness goals when working out while injured. You’ll learn how to consider your options for cardio vs. weightlifting and more. Continue reading if you want to start your journey to recovery.
Talk with Your Doctor
Working out while injured is a process that begins with you and your doctor. We recommend getting the go-ahead before getting started. Recovering from injuries is gradual and your doctor can help you determine the right time to start setting fitness goals or a weekly exercise schedule.
They can also discuss signs that you’re pushing yourself too hard or not hard enough. It’s important to have realistic expectations when exercising after injuries. Your doctor is an important resource in setting accurate expectations that will keep you from becoming discouraged.
Get In the Right Mindset
Once you’ve gotten the approval from your doctor, take some time to get in the right mindset. This will help you to really consider your injury. Think about how you exercised in the past and how that needs to be adjusted now that you’re recovering.
It’s also a prime opportunity for setting fitness goals. Think back on your conversation with your doctor. What are reasonable expectations for exercising after injuries and how can you turn those into manageable exercise goals?
Stick to a Weekly Exercise Schedule
Once you have your thoughts in order, you’re ready to set a weekly exercise schedule. After setting fitness goals, we recommend aligning your schedule with them. This will not only keep you motivated and on schedule but will also give you a sense of accomplishment when you meet your goals.
Work with a Professional
Working out while injured is intimidating, especially if you aren’t sure how to make the most of it without hurting yourself. This is why it’s a great idea to see a professional who can help guide you to the right exercises. Depending on your injury, you can either work with a physical therapist or a personal trainer.
If you’re experiencing a more serious injury, working with a physical therapist is ideal to make sure you are performing exercises that are safe and will also help you heal. For minor injuries, you can enlist the help of a personal trainer who can help ease you back into an exercise regimen.
Choose the Right Exercises
When setting your weekly exercise schedule, you should consider what exercises are going to benefit you the most. Whether you want to know your options for cardio or prefer to start with resistance training, knowing your options for a healthy and effective workout will help you on your way to seeing results.
If you’re new to working out or aren’t sure which exercises are best, consider talking with your doctor, physical therapist, or personal trainer. They can help you start the right routine.
Keep Your Exercises Varied
When choosing exercises and setting fitness goals, remember the importance of variation. Focusing too much on the area you injured can delay healing or even make the problem worse. If you’re dealing with a knee injury, consider focusing on upper-body exercises.
In contrast, if you’ve injured your shoulder, consider trying out the stationary bike a few times a week or other options for cardio. Keeping your weekly exercise schedule varied will help you develop well-rounded strength that’s better for healing.
Don’t Rush the Process
You may be excited to start your weekly exercise schedule, but when it comes to exercising after injuries you have to take it slowly. Maybe your previous exercise regimen included exercising 6-days per week. However, when you’re working out while injured, you might want to start out with 2 or 3 days at first.
After the first few weeks, you can make the decision to add or subtract days. You may be surprised that you need to start slower than expected, but that’s nothing to be discouraged by. Your recovery isn’t a race, so take it slowly and make your transition back to normal exercises gradual.
Taking a slow approach to recovery is especially important for young athletes. A recent study showed that 54% of students reported playing while injured, which has the potential to worsen their injury and affect their ability to make a full recovery.
Listen to Your Body
When it comes to working out while injured, it’s normal to want to push yourself to further your progress. It might be frustrating to start out slowly so you try to do more to heal faster. However, the most important part of exercising after injuries is listening to your body.
In the year 2020, 377,939 people were injured while exercising, which is why it’s important to pay attention to the signs your body is giving you. You may be inclined to think that any pain is a sign of healing, but it can actually be your body telling you that you’re taking on too much. While it’s ok to experience slight soreness, you shouldn’t be in pain (especially worse pain than your initial injury).
Know What to Expect When Exercising After Injuries
Knowing what to expect when it comes to exercising after injuries can help your recovery. Setting fitness goals that are obtainable combined with a reasonable weekly exercise schedule will get you to where you want to be sooner. Recovering from injuries is a slow process, and you need to listen to your body to make sure you’re not doing too much.
For more tips and recommendations that will lead you to a healthier life, visit our Wellness Library.