Getting Back Your Full Range of Motion After a Workout Injury
After a workout injury, you’re likely eager to return to your old exercise routine with a few mindful modifications, of course. One common mistake patients make is returning to their old habits too quickly and either reinjuring or worsening their existing injury. Pacing is key. As you work toward recovery, prioritizing your health, strength, and resilience will enable you to workout smarter and more safely in the future.
Speak with your physician about when it’s safe to start exercising again. The body will be less conditioned after even just a few days without working out, but that does not mean you can jump back in and try to prevent further deterioration. Depending on the severity of your injury, it’s best to have a period of rest and then gradually reintroduce exercise into your daily routine.
A runner or athlete with a torn ligament, for example, cannot simply take off as soon as they start to feel they’ve healed. They’ll have to work out systematically, beginning with walks and progressively increasing the speed and duration of their physical activity.
Break Up Your Workouts
Shorter periods of exercise will help prevent injury while building strength and preventing muscular strain. Rather than forcing your body to pull through a workout it isn’t ready to handle yet, consider smaller 10- to 15-minute workouts that are easier on your body and can be implemented into your daily routine.
For those whose injuries required corrective surgical procedures, simple, small exercises will be key to maintaining physical fitness and preserving your mental health while optimizing your recovery outcomes.
Don’t Overlook Warmups and Cooldowns
Many sports and exercise-related injuries are caused because people did not properly prepare their bodies for the challenge. Even physical exercise you practice with ease requires a tremendous amount of effort and coordination from your muscles, ligaments, and bones.
Consider adding a daily stretching routine when you wake up and before bed in addition to your workout warmup and cooldown. These steps will improve your flexibility, lowering your risk of reinjury and giving you an all-around more effective workout.
Consult a Professional
Consider speaking with a sports medicine doctor who can assist your recovery. Although your general physician is likely helpful, a sports medicine professional understands the unique challenges to recovery that athletes face. Even if you only frequent the gym and don’t consider yourself an proper athlete, an expert in the field can help structure your recovery program in a way that retains your existing strength and helps you heal better and stronger.
Coordinating your recovery with a variety of professionals can be helpful as well. Sports massage therapists, physical therapists, and sports medicine doctors are all experts who can help educate you about exercise safety, injury prevention and recovery strategies.
Workout injuries are frustrating, but you shouldn’t skimp on caring for them. Taking proper care of the injury will ensure that your recovery goes well and holds up when you’re ready to start working out again. Talk to your physician and a sports medicine doctor for more advice on how to get back your full strength and range of motion after an injury.