Working Out During an Injury
Injuries are terrible, no good, awful. When an injury happens, whether it’s a minor or big injury, it can feel frustrating, discouraging, like your progress has been derailed. Despite those feelings, continuing with your training routine as your injury heals may actually be a good thing. Of course, always get your medical doctor’s approval before starting any workout routine.
The Dreaded Injury
Let’s face it. An injury is damage to your body. It can be a small bruise or a broken bone, but your body was damaged in some way. Injuries can happen at home, at work, while reaching down to tie your shoes – anywhere. For spring sports athletes, injuries are common because keeping muscles, tendons, ligaments warm can be tricky when exposed to the cold elements. Anytime of the year, when trying to get better and push oneself to improve, athlete or not, tweaks will happen.
No Pain, No Gain Right?
Not exactly. While an injury is scary and scary sounding, once an injury happens, with some modifications to a training program, workouts can continue. As you workout, a little discomfort is OK. A lot is not. With an injury, pushing through slight pain while exercising can be productive as you mobilize and improve blood flow to the area. But, you should never be in agony. Pushing through severe pain can have a negative effect by prolonging your injury and recovery. Your body needs time to heal so when you’re doing too much too soon, it can re-injure the same area or set you up for a double whammy of injuries. Your body learns to adapt and rely on the healthy side when it’s not 100 percent. Since your uncompromised side is carrying the load for both sides, pushing more than you should can lead to another injury in a different spot. Don’t push it! If you have pain a day or two after training, then you pushed too much and need to ease up.
Continue Moving Smart
While recovering, be patient as you continue with your training. You may need to hold back on some movements, you may need to modify your training plan, and you will need to give yourself an extra time to rest, but keep moving.
- Continue strength training. An injury causes weakness in the musculature around the injury site. Strength training helps improve the strength, range of motion, and mobility of your muscles, ligaments, and tendons as you heal.
- Don’t over-do it. As your muscles, ligaments, tendons, bones heal from their injury, they aren’t as strong as before. Listen to your body and give yourself regular rest and recovery days as you heal.
- Work on your flexibility. If you don’t already, this would be an opportune time to make stretching a permanent part of your fitness routine. Flexibility helps your joints have full range of motion. It helps your muscles work efficiently and effectively. Stretching also increases blood flow to the muscles, especially to ligaments and tendons which is helpful to strains and sprains.
- No one except a medical doctor can diagnose or give you sound medical advice. Always follow your doctor’s guidance especially when it comes to major injuries.
It may sound counterintuitive, but exercising is actually better than not moving while recovering from an injury. An injury doesn’t always mean stop all activities, go on complete bed rest and that’s that. Being uncomfortable may feel like an injury. Muscle tightness may feel ‘not right.’ Getting a slight muscle pull may seem derailing. But that’s not always the case. With injuries that don’t need medical intervention, the work can continue the next day in a modified way. When injuries are sustained that do require immediate medical intervention, activity resumes when your doctor indicates so. In either case, if there’s a lower body injury, we can continue to use our upper body. If there is an upper body injury, we can focus on lower body work. The plan is to work around the injury and continue to progress.