Anytime you are physically active, there is always the risk of becoming injured. The health risks of not exercising, however, far outweigh the risk of twisted ankles or over-used tendons. But many of us lack the knowledge and training to properly correct injuries, and the end result is that our injuries last longer and become more serious. Not only does that hinder your exercise regimen, it can lead to muscle imbalances and improper training that have harsher implications for the rest of your body. So what is the best way to exercise after suffering an injury?
Once an injury has been identified, the first step is to do what your doctor tells you to do. If your doctor says, "No running for three weeks," guess what? You don't get to run for three weeks. No jogging, no bending the rules, no "just this once". The smartest thing to do is give your body ample time to recover from its injury. If the injury is severe, be sure to seek the assistance of a certified professional to help you recover properly, like a physical therapist or personal trainer.
The second step is to identify what caused the injury in the first place. If you get an overuse injury, chances are you have some muscular imbalances that need to be addressed. Muscle imbalances can also lead to changes in gait and improper muscle use, which can all lead back to injury. The more injuries you suffer, the more likely you are to suffer more injuries in the future, so diligence at this stage is essential.
NASM, the National Academy of Sports Medicine, has a well laid out plan for dealing with muscle imbalances and overall training. Since just about every person has muscular imbalances, it's an important plan to make note of. The order of training should move from stability to strength and from strength to power. Ask a certified personal trainer, fitness specialist, or physical therapist for help with this process to make sure you are treating your imbalances appropriately.
It's important to listen to your body. Your body has a natural way of communicating whether or not something is going awry. There's a difference between exercise pain (the aching that comes with muscle work; this is "good" pain) and injury pain (the sharp, hot, acute kind; this is "bad" pain). Any time your body gives you "bad" pain, it's letting you know that it's not ready for what you're asking it to do. So stop, and ease into your training regimen more slowly.
RMH Wellness Center's Progressive Exercise Program (ProEx)
If you're recovering from an injury the RMH Wellness Center's Pro-Ex Program may be just what you need. An eight-week program with your very own customized exercise program developed by a Wellness Center Fitness Specialist. The exercise program designed for you will be based on your medical needs and fitness goals, in conjunction with your health care providers' fitness recommendations. Plus, also enjoy full use of a Wellness Center membership - $1 a day for eight weeks.
ProEx is a safe and effective bridge from structured clinical treatment to a healthy, active lifestyle. Ask your health care provider if you are a candidate for ProEx. If so, call 564-5694 or click for more information.
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