Whether you’ve broken your arm or tore a tendon in your leg, getting back to exercise after an injury is never an easy feat. It can be even more difficult for those who were fitness fanatics before the injury struck.
The longer you go without working out, the more your muscles waste away. To help you get back into shape, here are ten tips to get you back into fitness after an injury.
1. Start slow
You don’t want to jump back into your workout routine without taking time to recover from your injury. Take it slow and ease yourself back into exercise gradually. For instance, if you broke or tore your arm, start by using a stationary bike or elliptical trainer.
As you get stronger, start adding more resistance and longer periods of time. Don't push yourself too hard, though. You can always work your way back into shape, but you can't work your way back into your old fitness level.
2. Start with a simple routine
You don’t want to jump right back into a complex workout routine. You need to ease your body back into exercise in small, incremental steps. For instance, if you broke or tore your arm, start by doing five minutes of stationary bike exercise. Then, add five minutes per day until you’re up to an hour.
3. Use free weights
You don’t have to use a machine to get a good workout. Free weights, such as dumbbells, are great for getting back into fitness after an injury. Plus, they help you build muscle and lose fat.
4. Try a different workout routine
If you were an avid gym goer before your injury, you might be itching to get back to the basics. However, it’s best to try a different workout or a new exercise. For instance, if you used to do a lot of running, try swimming some laps around the pool or an aquatic fitness class instead.
5. Add in a few additional weightlifting sessions
If you’re an avid weightlifter, you might want to add in a few extra weightlifting sessions. You might have been working out at the gym three days a week, but you might want to add in an extra time at the gym.
6. Remember to stretch
Stretching is an important part of any workout routine as it helps to alleviate soreness and helps to strengthen your muscles. It is especially important if you are just starting to workout again after an injury. You should start and end a workout with stretching as it is one of the ways to reduce the risk of a new injury or flaring up an old one.
7. Keep your workouts short
When you are just getting back into exercise, you don’t need to do a lot. Keep your workouts short and sweet. You want to keep your workouts short because you need to give your body enough time to recover.
8. Go slow with cardio
Cardio is important for weight loss and burning calories. However, if you start with a long cardio session, you will only end up hurting yourself. Start with a simple walk, and then gradually build your time and distance.
9. Workout at home
It can be tempting to go to the gym when you’re injured, but it’s better to workout at home. You can do the same exercises you would do at the gym, but you’ll be able to stop and rest when you need to.
10. Take it easy
It’s important to take it easy when you return to exercise after an injury. You want to start slow, and you shouldn’t push yourself too hard. As you get closer to your fitness goals, you can start to increase your workouts.
Ultimately, the best way to get back into fitness after an injury is to listen to your body. If you feel any pain, you need to stop what you’re doing.
Once you start to feel better, you can start to ease yourself back into exercise. Keep your workouts short and sweet, and listen to your body.