“Continuous effort — not strength or intelligence — is the key to unlocking our potential.” - Liane Cardes
After an accident, a fall, or an injury, exercising again can seem complicated, but you need to exercise regularly to stay in shape and avoid further injury. However, it’s not always obvious what you should be doing, especially without a coach.
There are a few rules and advice you should follow.
Ready to get back in shape?
Here’s our advice for exercising safely after an injury.
Get a Health Check
After not exercising for a while, you must get advice from a medical professional and ensure that you’re ready to start exercising again.
Your doctor, physician, physiotherapist, or osteopath may offer a check-up and let you know whether or not you should start exercising again.
In some cases, you’ll need a clean bill of health to take up certain sports. After an injury, pregnancy, or even a heart attack, your doctor must give you the green light as they’ll check your overall fitness and pay particular attention to areas you’ve injured in the past.
Your GP will probably want to know a few things about your overall fitness, too.
What activities would you like to do? How often will you be doing them? Where will you be doing them?
They’ll also want to know how you feel while exercising. Shortness of breath and chest pain can be red flags for a lot of high-intensity activities. Your check-up will probably come with advice on what kinds of exercise you can do.
As you’ll have understood, you should listen to what your doctor has to say and their professional opinion is far more important than how you feel. You need to be sure that your body is ready for whatever you’re going to put it through, especially in terms of your cardiovascular health.
With a check-up, you should be able to put together a fitness plan that works with your fitness level and experience.
Your doctor will probably check for the following:
- Cardiovascular disease.
- High blood pressure.
- Shortness of breath when exercising.
- In some cases (smokers, previous conditions, etc.), they might want to conduct tests and scans.
- Any other illness/injuries/conditions.
Once you’ve seen your doctor and been given the green light for exercising, you can start putting in the effort.
The next step is to motivate yourself. After a long period of not exercising, it can be difficult to get back into a routine and find your form.
Taking it easy is the best way to ensure success in the long term. Don't get discouraged; set yourself achievable goals. Regularly check the progress you’re making as each session is an opportunity to make small gains.
Always make sure that your goals are easy to achieve, go easy on yourself, and listen to your body. The most important thing is to remain motivated in the short term so that you can achieve your long-term goals.
Don’t overexert yourself and make sure that your exercise programme is suited to you.
Here are the most common injuries:
- Muscle strain
- Back pain
- Muscle soreness
Each type of injury is different and requires different types of care.
If you’ve been injured exercising on your own, consider getting supervision during your recovery. A fitness coach can help you get it right. A good fitness coach will show you the right warm-ups, exercises, and stretches to ensure that you don’t exacerbate your injury or condition.
You can be injured in almost every type of sport or exercise so be careful and don’t overdo it. This is why it’s a good idea to have supervision, especially when it comes to exercising and even more so when you’re coming back from injury. A professional will show you want to do and ways to exercise that won’t worsen your injury or condition.
Don’t forget to use the right equipment, too! There’s nothing worse than having the wrong shoes, clothing, or equipment.
Take It Easy
The best way to come back from injury is to take things easy. Be meticulous and focus on your form.
Before you can start exercising regularly, you need to start gently. Start with a few minutes of walking at a moderate intensity.
For those who love running, you may want to go out only once a week and start going more frequently once you get back into it.
You need to give your injury time to heal but you’ll want to get into a habit so that you can get back into shape. Bit by bit, you can get back into your routine. Try adding five minutes or so to your sessions. You need to form a habit to succeed in the long run.
Here’s some advice for getting back into an exercise routine:
- Hydrate before, during, and after.
- Always warm up.
- Focus on your breathing.
- Try targeted workouts that focus on certain parts of the body.
- Gradually increase the intensity and duration of your workouts
- Respect your limits.
- Pay attention to your form.
- Use the right tools and equipment.
- Set yourself achievable goals.
As you’ll have understood, patience is key to maintaining a regular exercise schedule after an injury.
Regularly exercising will release endorphins and put you in a good mood. They'll make you feel relaxed and optimistic, which is perfect for exercising!
Which Sports Are Good for Avoiding Injuries?
If you’re looking to exercise after an injury, you must choose an exercise with a low chance of injury.
You’ll also want to do exercises that won’t worsen your injury. Here are a few of the best exercises and sports for avoiding injuries:
- Physical rehabilitation programmes
- Light aerobic sessions
- Tai Chi
Choose exercise routines that work best with your injuries, just avoid high-intensity sports and activities like rugby, boxing, CrossFit, and HIIT as you recover.
For those looking to use weights, try exercising using your body weight as the resistance as it's a great way to work out without any equipment.
In summary, you can get exercise after an injury but only after you've let your injury heal. A medical professional will let you know how to do this and which exercises you can keep doing.
The second thing you need to do is set yourself some achievable goals. Thirdly, take things easy. And finally, choose exercises that work well with your injury or condition. You can still get back into shape if you do things right.
Form some good habits. Even if you can only do 30 minutes of exercise a week at first, it’s a good start. Good luck!
If you're looking for help with your fitness routine, consider getting help from a personal trainer or coach on Superprof. There are instructors and coaches all over the country and around the world ready to start working with you on your fitness.
There are different ways to get fitness coaching and each comes with advantages and disadvantages so think carefully about which would work well for you and your budget.
Face-to-face coaches can train you at your home, a gym, or outdoors in a park, for example. With the session being just between you and them, you can guarantee that you'll have their undivided attention and that every minute will be planned with you in mind. However, all this planning takes time and expertise so one-on-one coaching tends to cost more than the other options out there, but this is the most cost-effective option.
Group coaching is great for those on a tight budget as every member of the class will be paying for the instructor's time and expertise. It can also be really useful to have other people there to support you and spur you on. When exercising in groups, you'll probably be exercising in public spaces, gyms, or dedicated space.
Thanks to the internet, you can also get online coaching. This is useful if you can't find any suitable coaches in your local area but would still like to get guidance from one. Some might guide you through your workouts over video conferencing software like Zoom or Skype whereas others may just act in a consultancy role, providing you with a tailored workout and dietary plan for you to follow in your own time.
Remember that a lot of the coaches and fitness instructors on Superprof offer the first session for free so try a few out before deciding on the one that's right for you and your budget.