INJURY RECOVERY 101: How To Get Back in Shape In No Time

Are You Still In Shape? Do you still want to get back in shape?

Having an active lifestyle is probably more important these days than it has ever really been. In this fast-paced world of hectic schedules and tempting but fattening foods, we don’t always have the discipline and mental strength to keep our bodies fueled with only the healthiest choices and put through the proper paces, which leads to the many health issues that we face these days.

Keeping the body active by engaging in a routine just requires a bit of discipline and, for those who can manage it, an investment in our well-being.

But all that can go out the window when we get injured, or so it seems.

Knee, ankle, and other joint injuries take us literally out of the running. Back pains can slow us down a lot, as they can act up when we least expect it. Depending on how severe the injury is, the loss of mobility can get relatively disheartening and can result in an accompanying loss of motivation as well.

That is, in some cases — and, as this video suggests, there are ways to avoid yours being one of them.

First of all, verify your condition with the help of your doctor. Your physician may be able to help you assess the level of your injury, which might not interfere with your active lifestyle to quite the degree of finality you once thought. Or, your doctor may be able to recommend a good physical therapist to help you work around the injury.

As a matter of fact, some injuries are better treated with a targeted, planned active lifestyle rather than falling into an utterly sedentary one, as this WebMD article suggests

  1. Form and function.

Exercising after an injury, if done improperly, might make matters worse or leave you vulnerable to other injuries. Remember to always clear exercise plans with your doctor, or ask for the recommended ones. That way you can be sure you’re not being swayed by exercises you randomly encounter but aren’t designed with your needs in mind. Above all, when exercising, follow the proper form:

  • Your spine should be kept long. This will promote proper posture, which has many other benefits in maintaining proper form.
  • Keep your shoulders relaxed when possible, unless flexing them is explicitly part of the exercise. Tense shoulders are tight and won’t work well for you.
  • For full-body exercises or lower-body exercises, move from the hips. Avoid much lower-back involvement.
  1. Come back slow.

Don’t feel guilty or embarrassed about having to take the intensity down a notch when you come back to the exercise routine. Pick an exercise that isn’t as demanding or challenging as your usual — your doctor may even recommend a very slow burn with some really light stuff to start with, which is perfectly fine — or select ones that have more limited weight or motion involved.

Doing too much too soon is always a bad idea when coming back from injury, and the old normal might just be too much. Over time you’ll be able to scale back to what you used to do.

  1. On that note, listen to your body.

Pain is a useful tool here, and it’s how your body tells you something isn’t quite right and needs to be adjusted. Avoid painkillers if you can, especially before a workout, so you can let your body tell you if the exercise is giving you problems. After all, if you’re medically numbed so you can’t feel pain, that doesn’t automatically mean things are going well. There might be problems you’re just not aware of, that can add up over time and cause more significant issues. If you feel pain, try making these adjustments:

  • Feel out what range of motion is pain-free for you, and stick to that for the time being.
  • Change exercises to a different one that targets the same areas but doesn’t cause pain.
  • If it’s a weights exercise, decrease the amount of weight used.

This is another reason to involve your doctor in the planning or work with a personal trainer. Your knowledge alone of exercise design might not be enough to help you make appropriate adjustments, so be open to getting some help and insight.

Don’t forget to wear SocksLane compression socks when you exercise. This is essential to minimize re-injury and get you back in shape. Proper compression during exercise keeps muscles less prone to injury.  

Ultimately, active recovery is generally a must.

It’s certainly better than just giving in and letting yourself get sidelined entirely by the injury. Don’t forget, though, to make sure it’s a process that can work for you by considering your needs and your current limitations. Work with your physician and/or personal trainer or therapist, to avoid making matters worse or more complicated by causing more injury.

On a final note…

How else can you support your own efforts to come back from injury? An active lifestyle is best paired with some self-care. You can give your muscles an occasional massage with a foam roller, which is excellent for deep tissue massage around the injured area. Or you can splurge once in a while for a professional massage, although it’s okay to keep that to special occasions as the roller’s deep-tissue work does the job. Stay hydrated, make sure to support your recovery by eating well, and stretch periodically to make sure your muscles are keeping supple and limber, whether for exercise needs or merely going about your lifestyle — which you can be making more and more active as you go.  

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