Summer is the absolute worst season to have an injury – and yet the most common time for aches and pains to creep up.
We can miss out on family fun, have to sit out on activities we enjoy, and an injury can have a devastating impact on any plans to get in shape. However, you can still find a ways to keep moving, optimize your health, and exercise safely when you’re injured.
Use these strategies as part of your fitness program to stay in shape while an injury heals:
Modify Your Routine to Accommodate Your Injury
Whether you injured yourself while exercising, or doing another activity entirely, you will likely not be able to continue your usual exercise routine. You’ll have to create a new training schedule to stay in shape, with new priorities.
Your top priority should be to avoiding further injury while maintaining strength and stamina in the rest of your body. In order to accommodate these new priorities, you may need to adjust the intensity or frequency of your workouts. Considering consulting with a professional to set up your modified training program.
Work Other Parts of Your Body
If you have an upper body injury that limits you, then consider exercises that focus more on the lower body. For example, if you can no longer do your heavy dumbbell workout because of a shoulder injury, then consider switching to a bodyweight training for your lower body. You could also mix in some cardio and try cycling on a stationary bike.
Although you may experience some atrophy (weakening of the muscles) in your area of injury, your body as a whole will stay in shape when isolating just the upper or lower body in your routine.
Add Restorative Movement
Activities such as yoga, tai chi, Pilates, or a stretching routine can help your body heal and also stay in shape. These forms of movement restore the body instead of stress the body, but don’t underestimate their ability to keep your body in tip top shape.
Consider Water Exercise
Workouts in the pool are low impact and can help you heal from an injury without making it worse. Your local YMCA and other organizations often have a variety of classes, and you can talk to the instructors to find the best fit.
You can also perform exercises in your home pool that you would normally do on land with less body weight resistance. For example, if you have an ankle injury, it might be painful to do calf raises (or heel raises) but in the water you can start practicing this movement with the help of buoyancy.
Maintain a Healthy Diet
Exercise is only one part of a bigger plan to keep your body in shape and optimize your health. Your diet also matters, but an injury can wreak havoc on it.
People are often tempted to indulge in treats because they’re convenient and you’re feeling sorry for yourself. There is often an attitude of “why bother” eating healthy foods if I’m not able to get to the gym. However, it’s even more important to stay on track with nutrition when you aren’t as active as usual.
Reach Out For Support
An injury can make you feel isolated. Keeping up your connections with your friends can help tremendously. They can be powerful motivators as you heal.
If many of your health conscious friends are your workout buddies, continue to go to boot camp class or gym sessions. Let them know that you are making modifications to stay safe and they will be able to cheer you on.
Have Your Injury Evaluated by an Expert
Before you jump back on the treadmill or lift those heavier weights, carefully examine your injury and ability to exercise. It’s tempting to do too much too soon when you are healing.
Having your injury evaluated by an expert, such as a Doctor of Physical Therapy, will give you the best possible chance of not experiencing reinjury. And we know that’s the last thing you want. There are likely specific strengthening, stretching, and manual therapy techniques that will allow you to return at 110% as quickly as possible.
Luckily, in most instances, you can continue to exercise while you’re healing from an injury. Staying in shape can even help you heal quicker, as long as you’re careful with the activities you choose.
Want to know more about recovering from your specific injury?
We want to share with you the top recovery strategies used by pro athletes. Because when you are getting paid to stay in shape, you don’t have time to “wait and see” or risk reinjury. These 7 tips will help you Get Fit and Stay Fit whether you just experienced an injury or have chronic aches and pains keeping you from feeling optimal and performing at your best.
Click the link below for our Free Download -> How to Get Fit and Stay Fit: 7 Secret Recovery Strategies that Pro Athletes Know and Use.