3 Tips for Restarting Exercise Routines after Injury

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Being injured is a double-whammy when it comes to fitness. Apart from the affected area, which needs to heal, missing workouts deprives the entire body.

Many injury sufferers are tempted to get back into regular routines quickly following recovery. But throwing yourself into exercise again without taking the proper precautions is foolish. You may inadvertently worsen the injury and lengthen the recovery process.

It is therefore important to work with your physician and discuss the best ways to get back into patterns of exercise after the injury has healed. Be sure to incorporate these three tips.

Start Out Slow

You will need to reduce the intensity of exercising and time spent in workouts from normal levels, once you reach a functional phase where it is safe to begin exercising again. For instance, if you usually jog for 30 minutes, consider jogging for 10 to 15 minutes when you first return to your normal routine. Gradually increase the time by five-minute intervals until you have resumed your previous time.

Cross-training exercise is an option recommended by Runner’s World. During these workouts, you’ll immobilize the injured area and focus on exercising other areas of the body. For instance, if you have an arm injury, you may use the treadmill to maintain cardiovascular fitness while you heal.

Watch for Signs of Injury

You’re responsible for monitoring your injury as you begin to exercise. Aetna Intelihealth recommends looking for any pain or swelling that occurs during or after exercise. Stop the exercise or decrease the intensity of the routine if you feel discomfort during physical activity. If the swelling or pain continues after exercise is completed, use an ice pack following the workout. Leave the ice pack in place for ten- to fifteen-minute intervals.

Stretching Before and After Exercise

A stretching routine is imperative to help prevent further aggravating a sports-related injury. According to a 2009 study published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine, stretching before and after exercise reduced the risk of injuries to muscles, tendons and ligaments.

Spend at least 30 seconds stretching each muscle group before participating in any form of physical activity. Basic stretches can include lunges, squats, standing triceps stretch, calf stretch and chest stretch.

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