Exercising through injury, the right way
For an athlete, getting injured is one of the worst things that can happen and it can seem like all the work you have put in to get fit, is wasting away. Depending on the type of injury you may be out of competition and training for a long time. Instead of lying on the sofa throwing rolled up paper into a bin, eating chocolate and feeling sorry for yourself, speak to your physiotherapist about other forms of exercise you can do that will not aggravate your injury and at the same time help you stay fit.
There are many types of low-impact exercises you can do while you are recovering and these will often expedite your return to sport at the end of recovery. Your physiotherapist may advise on some or all of the following depending on the injury:
This is one of the best forms of exercise for injured athletes. The buoyancy of the water supports your weight so there is little force on your muscles or joints to cope with. Swimming recruits all the major muscles of the body – arms, abs and legs for a good, stress-free workout. A variation of this is running in the water, either along the bottom or with the aid of a buoyancy aid, through the water.
Whether you use a moving bike or a stationary one, cycling is a great form of cardio exercise which helps to burn fat, tone muscle and build endurance. If you have had knee surgery, cycling can lubricate the knee and improve flexibility and range-of-motion. If you have shoulder pain or even after a shoulder operation a static or recumbent (sitting down) bike can allow you work your legs hard without putting stress through the arms. Your physiotherapist will tell you how long you should stay on the bike and how much resistance is safe for your fitness level.
The rowing machine in the gym is a good form of upper-body workout for the athlete who sustained a leg injury as the injured leg can be held to the side of the machine. Rowing in a boat is also good and gives the added bonus of being outdoors in the fresh air and sunshine. If your upper body is injured, this low-impact activity will not cause more trouble, however to be safe, consult with your physiotherapist as to how much and how fast you should perform this exercise.
This is a great way to keep the body toned, provide flexibility and increase range-of-motion. However, this should be done under the supervision of your physiotherapist. He/she will tell you what stretches to do, how many and at what range. If necessary, he/she will assist you to perform the stretches until you can do them safely on your own.
Body Weight Exercises
Exercises using your own body weight (such as sit-ups, press-ups and chin-ups) can also help you get some sweat and maintain fitness, just as long as you follow your physiotherapist’s advice.
Becoming injured does not mean that you are tied to the settee to lose all the fitness you have work so hard to achieve. Come in and see us at Platinum Physiotherapy; we will put you on a safe yet effective program.