Suffering an injury is never a fun experience. More often than not, injuries occur out of the blue, as a result of an accident or unforeseen situation – and with long-term consequences that could impact many best-laid plans. The aftermath of such an event is not limited to immediate treatment; there is also a long road to recovery and healing, depending on the type and severity of your injury.
This recovery process can preclude you from some of your favourite activities and habits, not in the least of which might be your regular sessions at the gym. Resting up might see you lose some of the progress you were making towards your fitness goals prior to your injury, but your return to the gym must be undertaken carefully. What should you do to get back into an exercise routine safely after an accident or injury?
Trust the Experts
Firstly, and most importantly of all, it is crucial that you defer to the advice of experts when it comes to your recovery and your return to activity, as well as in other matters. Healthcare professionals are there for a reason and have much more insight into your condition and the possibilities of your recovery than you do. These boundaries can be tested practically, but first you need to listen and understand your situation.
Of course, there are rare instances in which healthcare professionals can fail to properly administer the necessary advice or treatment for your recovery. These uncommon events are examples of negligent behaviour, and if they hamper your recovery then you could take compensatory action. However, the vast majority of patients will receive key advice for proper and successful recovery.
Take Your Time
One of the most common pieces of advice you will receive from medical professionals and fitness experts alike is to take things slow. Your body needs time to recover, and even more time to build up the strength and fortitude necessary to return to your prior form. Rushing back into the same exercises and reps you were achieving before your injury is simply asking for trouble. Without a phased return to exercise, you could slow your recovery or even injure yourself all over again.
Try Something New
Speaking of the same exercises, your recovery process could be a brilliant time for mixing things up and trying something new. For one, the injury you’ve suffered may require a specific set of exercises to help restrengthen key muscles or even return movement; leaning into this could help you uncover unknown flexibility.
If your recovery precludes you from carrying out certain exercises safely, though, you could turn your attention to a new and different sport for entirely fun-based reasons. Test a new muscle group, learn a new skill and maybe even find a new passion, simply by picking up a new sport or programme friendlier to your current condition.
Last but certainly not least, focus on the light at the end of the tunnel and remember that, with time, you will be back to where you started – if not stronger than ever.