Exercising with injuries
By Emily Boylin
Our challenge exercise plans have been created to cater for people who are either beginners or who have an intermediate level of exercise. We are quite sure however, that there are many of you out there who would like to exercise but have injuries, or other mobility issues, and thus have put together some advice on exercising when less mobile than others.
At the start of Week 1 we will also make available a ‘seated exercises’ document, perfect for our members with low mobility. For example, it will be a great reference guide for anyone who is wheelchair bound, for those that have had knee ops, or for anyone who has ankle or back problems and has difficulty with weight bearing exercises when standing.
So, exercising with injuries…
If you’ve ever experienced a injury – whether it be a sprained ankle that was swollen for weeks or a bone break or muscle tear that put you out of action for months and months – you’ll know how limiting some movements that we take for granted can be when your body isn’t working 100% for you!
You’ll notice those limitations even more if you’re a regular exerciser or someone who is keen to start exercising.
Having a current or previous injury doesn’t have to mean absolutely no movement or no training. If you follow the tips below you can still reap the benefits of exercise…
Tip 1 – always seek approval from your GP or physio first
If you have a current or previous injury that affects everyday movement in any way or affects you when you exercise please seek advice and approval from your doctor or physio before starting any new training regime. They will be able to advise any exercises you should avoid, the intensity you should train at and prescribe the best exercises to improve your injury or help strength your problem area.
Tip 2 – if you can’t train one area, train another
Take part in exercises that do not affect your injured area. If you have an upper body injury, there are still a bunch of exercises you can complete without hindering your injury recovery – likewise if you have a lower body injury.
For example, if you have a shoulder injury but can walk, squat, lunge, walk up stairs etc, concentrate on those exercises to guarantee movement in your day. If you have an ankle injury but can swim, do push ups on knees, seated exercises, abdominal work etc, concentrate on those exercises.
Tip 3 – train within your level and listen to your body
If you are training with a recovering injury, take it slowly and train within your fitness level. For example, if you have had back problems but your doctor has advised you can complete most body weight exercises, stick to the exercises that suit you – squats instead of squat jumps, push ups on your knees rather than on your toes, jogging instead of sprinting. Listen to your body and if something doesn’t feel right, stop what you’re doing.
You will always be able to find a regressed version of our exercises (the ‘Too hard?’ options) on your training activity PDF.
Tip 4 – always warm up, rest when needed and stretch
It is important, whether you have an injury or not, to always warm up before starting an exercise session. Warming up encourages blood flow and oxygen to muscles and around the body, lubricates joints and fires up neural pathways, getting your body ready for more movement.
Once you are exercising again after an injury, make sure you rest between exercises when you need to – you can repeat exercises back to back once you have build up to it.
Always remember to stretch after exercising too – it increases the range of motion at a joint, decreases muscle tension after training, decreases the chance of muscle spasm and can minimize muscle soreness.