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Returning to fitness after an injury may be just what the doctor ordered

Being active is good for you, especially if you’ve been sidelined. “It’s important to stay mobile so you don’t make an injury worse or set yourself up for other ailments caused by inactivity,” says Lara Heimann, a physical therapist and yoga teacher in Princeton, NJ.

These steps can help you get back in the groove safely and effectively.

Get the OK From Your Doctor

If you have a serious health problem, check with your doctor or physical therapist before you start a new program. They’ll let you know if it’s safe to start up again and give you specific guidelines for your injury.

Start With Good Posture

Pay attention to your form. “When your posture is suboptimal, your chance of a reoccurring injury is greater,” Heimann says. “Look at this time as an opportunity to stand and sit taller and better.” Keep your spine long. Relax your shoulders. Move from the hips when you do full-body or lower-body exercises.

Change Things Up

Aim for variety instead of repeating the same exercises over and over. By varying your movement, you’ll avoid overloading or overstraining the area that was injured. This is the time for cross-training. “Walk, swim, or practice yoga -- and pay attention to your form,” Heimann says.

Dial It Down

Start exercising at a lower intensity than you normally do, or choose an exercise that’s less challenging. For example, if you usually lift weights, start with lighter weights. If you do squats, don’t go as far down as you used to. If you run, try walking first. Over time, you can inch back up.

Try Gentle Exercises

Low-impact activities or exercises that you can modify are good choices when you’re starting back up. Try yoga, Pilates, tai chi, swimming, water aerobics, rowing, or suspension training. Walking is another great option and may give you an added emotional boost. Studies suggest it helps lower stress and anxiety and boost your confidence.

Watch for Pain

If your workout hurts, scale things back. Try limiting your range of motion, doing a different type of exercise, or lowering the weight you’re using. Listen to your body and get help if you need it.

Enhance Your Recovery

Add small things to your routine that help you recover better. Take time to stretch. After your workout, do deep, 60-second stretches. Try a foam roller to gently stretch and massage your muscles around your injury. Get a weekly massage. Try a yoga class. Drink enough water to stay hydrated every day. Eat well.

Be Patient and Flexible

The road to fitness takes time. Expect ups and downs. Aim for consistent workouts on a regular basis. If you hit a snag, feel pain, or need help, talk to your doctor, physical therapist, or trainer.

(01/11/2021) Views: 140 ‚ö°AMP
by Kara Mayer Robinson
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