Getting back to fitness after an injury

Getting back into shape after an injury can be a long process. It’s important that you give your body as much time as it needs to heal. It’s natural you will be impatient to get back to your usual fitness routine, and that a long period of enforced rest will be frustrating. But going too fast could easily cause a recurrence of the original injury, thus forcing you back to square one. You could also make the condition worse, possibly leading to permanent damage.

Getting back to fitness after an injury

Take your time

The time it takes before you can return to your normal exercise regime will of course depend on the type and severity of your injury. It is important that you follow the advice of your doctor or physiotherapist, and take this article only as a general guide. Experts suggest that if you have to undergo a period of complete rest for your injury, then it should take you a similar amount of time to work your way back up to your normal level of fitness. So if you rest completely for two weeks it should take another two weeks of gradually increasing the intensity of your fitness routine before you get back to your pre-injury levels.


Gentle exercise

Walking or gentle swimming is great exercise to start out with. You should initially be moving or exercising at about 20% of your usual capability. This is the case even if you feel able to work out a high level immediately: a period of rest may leave you feeling stronger than you actually are. Going too fast can lead to a relapse or further injury. Listen to your body and if an action is painful stop and take a step back.


Moving forward

While further complications like tendonitis or stress fractures can be brought about by overdoing it, an exercise regime should still be a part of your recovery. Support garments and compression wear can be very helpful in avoiding a repeat injury. For running there are some great running compression items, and building up to some light jogging is the obvious next stage after you’ve become comfortable with exercise walks.


The right attitude

It’s important to have the right attitude to recovery. Take care of your body; don’t punish it for letting you down. Eat a healthy diet and drink plenty of water. Give your mind and emotions time to recover too; avoid stress and allow yourself some quiet time every day. If possible, try to meditate.

You may find that your body doesn’t respond to your brain as quickly as you’re used to. We’re not normally even aware that our body has to respond to a signal from our brain as the reaction is instant. Unless you’ve suffered serious nerve damage this connection will come back, but in the meantime you need to be patient.

Take it slow and steady is the best advice for getting back to fitness after an injury. Consult your doctor or physiotherapist and don’t do too much too soon but don’t do too little either. Exercise gently at first and pay particular attention to your warm-up sessions. Soon you’ll be back to full fitness once again.

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