Have you been sidelined because of an illness, injury, or accident? If you depend on regular workouts to keep your body strong, flexible and fit — not to mention for keeping your sanity and good humor intact — you might feel extremely frustrated to be under doctor’s orders to take it easy.
We’ve gathered some great tips for gaining perspective on your situation by finding other ways to relax and de-stress and getting back into the swing of things slowly and gently. Read on to learn all about staying fit while in recovery from an injury.
Accept the New Normal
You exercise because it’s the right thing to do for your body, right? Well, there are times when rest is what your body needs most. That’s never truer than when you have a broken bone, serious sprain, torn meniscus or rotator cuff, viral or bacterial infection, concussion, or any other medical issue that takes you temporarily out of commission.
Pushing yourself to work out when you are ill or injured isn’t a sign of how dedicated to exercise you are. It’s actually a poor decision that could set your fitness back indefinately, if you exacerbate the injury or put unnecessary stress on your body.
Put aside any lingering guilt you might feel for not getting right back out there. Listen to your doctor, physical therapist, or any other professional who’s advising you. You are doing the right thing by resting and letting your body recover.
Learn Alternate Ways to Destress
Do you typically deal with tension by lacing up your running shoes, hitting the gym for a super-hard lifting sesh, swimming until you’re stress-free, or dancing it out at Zumba? There’s no denying that working up a sweat is one of the best ways to keep your emotional health in peak condition. But remember that as amazing as the human body is, the human brain is even more incredible. Turn to ancient practices like meditation and mindfulness, or yoga to tap into inner strength and wisdom. (Just make sure you’ve cleared any physical activity — even gentle stretching — with your health care professionals.)
Adult coloring books, crossword puzzles, or even mindless games played on your phone can be a good way to soothe any jangled nerves or distract yourself from pain. And there’s absolutely nothing wrong with catching up on your Netflix queue, binge-listening to a great podcast, or losing yourself in a favorite book series.
Take Action to Feel Empowered
Dealing with physical pain on top of concerns about your finances, depression about this setback, worry regarding regaining your health, and other negative emotions can be challenging. Whatever you can do during this down time to empower yourself and feel productive will help you cope, especially if it means empowering your right to legal compensation for an injury you are suffering because of someone else.
According to Stein Law, a car accident injury lawyer in Aventura, “If your injury results from a car accident, be sure to consult with an attorney who specializes in motor vehicle personal injury law. You could be entitled to compensation for medical bills, lost wages, and more.”
Another way to empower yourself is to read up on the injury or even discuss the issues you’re experiencing with people in similar situations. Forums and messages boards, as well as fitness websites, are great places to get not only support, but advice and suggestions.
Change Your Workouts’ Focus
If your injury affects just one isolated part of the body, you might be in luck. Again, follow all medical advice about whether or not to work out, but if you can, get creative.
Someone with a broken humerus can do squats or use a stationary recumbent bike. Suffering with a sprained ankle or knee injury? Try seated workouts like chair cardio boxing or a weight routine focused on arms and abs.
Don’t Neglect Your Nutrition
It can be tempting to indulge in junk comfort foods to assuage your annoyance over not being able to work out. While a day or two of full-on cheat meals won’t hurt, try your best to continue making clean and healthy food choices.
You will thank yourself when you’re given the all-clear to start exercising again — and you don’t have 20 extra pounds to contend with along with whatever other abilities or endurance you may have lost.
Of course, good nutrition is also important to the healing process!
Ease Back into Activity
Once you have been given clearance to start moving again, take it nice and slow! Depending on how long you’ve been benched, it might not be advisable or even possible to jump right back into your old fitness routine. Maybe you’ve lost muscle tone, flexibility, or endurance.
Don’t despair — soon enough you’ll be crushing your workouts once again. It’s important to be humble and realize that although you might feel like a superhero when you’re at the top of your fitness game, you are only human.
So what are some good ways to ease back into an active lifestyle after almost complete inactivity? Taking a daily stroll, finding a super-chill yoga YouTube channel, or even hopping into the pool at your gym for some water walking are all good choices if you’re really starting from scratch. Talk to your doctor if you need recommendations or are unsure about how vigorous you can get.
And your PT will probably have you on a regimen of simple standing or seated exercises to help rebuild specific muscles and regain range of movement.
It’s no fun when you are forced to forego your usual workouts because of injury or illness, but remember that this is a temporary setback. It’s not the end of the world, even though it may feel like it! By taking these steps to keep yourself healthy and happy, you can bounce back and be your old, active self again before long.
Do you have any advice for recovering from an injury? Let us know in the comments!