Getting injured is devastating. It’s even more devastating when you’re a fitness freak. Because not only you will have to endure the pain, but it will also make you alter your regular fitness regime.
However, sometimes when injuries aren’t life-threatening or severely painful, you CAN work out and continue with your exercise (1). Depending on the intensity of your injury you can make a few changes to your daily regime and make sure your body gets enough movements.
Regulated and mild body movements can improve blood circulation and help you to recover better and faster. But what if while trying to work out you end up hurting yourself even more? What if your wounds deteriorate and become severe?
Prevention is better than cure. It is even more preferable when you’re already dealing with an injured body. So before you decide to hit the gym and start flexing your muscles, you must keep a lot of aspects in mind (2).
Well, are you someone who has no clue about what those points are? Calm down, there is nothing to worry about. Cause we got you covered. In this blog, we have detailed all the aspects and precautionary measures that you need to consider before you decide to hit the gym. Here they are!
1. Take Slow Actions- Focus On Relaxing Exercises Rather Than Strength Building
You must have heard the proverb – “Slow and steady wins the race.” It applies to every aspect of your life. Even when it comes to deciding about how to exercise when injured.
Once you have got a green signal from your doctor or trainer and finally decide to get some movements, make sure you are not rigorous from the start. Starting with freehand warm-up exercises and doing only those for the first few days can be a great way to keep yourself active while not straining your muscles too much.
An injured body already lacks stamina, so draining more through rigorous exercises can be counter-productive. Because it can harm your wounds and slow down the healing process.
The best way to go about it is by taking the quality over quantity approach. Instead of struggling and panting for hours, try exercising for 30- 25 miniatures and focus on exercises that activate your muscles and increase the heartbeat.
Start with a couple of relatively easy and less training workouts and then elevate to more intense as and when you are completely healed.
2. Spot The Real Cause – Prevention Is Better Than Cure
It’s always worth finding the root cause of troubles. The same goes for your physical injuries.
No matter how you got injured it’s always advisable to consult a physiotherapist, podiatrist, or running technique coach to examine the reason behind your injury and its current condition.
A clever choice would be to consult medical professionals who are into fitness themselves. Thus they’ll be able to completely understand your plight and suggest remedies accordingly.
Once you unravel the cause behind your injury (3), make sure you avoid that at any cost.
Often runners and gym trainers get injured because of not following proper workout techniques and mishandling the pieces of equipment. If that is the case with you, make sure that you don’t repeat your mistakes.
Thus, by avoiding ways in which you can potentially harm yourself, you stand much better stances to work out with deteriorating your current condition.
3. Time To Take A Dive – Replace Running With Aqua Jogging
This is probably one of the most underrated forms of running popular amongst runners.
Referred to as various names this form of jogging can activate your muscles while not causing any kind of strain to them.
Also known as pool running, deep water running, water jogging (4) this method involves jogging in the deep end of the pool. In this case, your feet don’t touch the bottom of the pool but you’re nevertheless paddling in the water and activating your lower body muscles.
Since your feet don’t touch the pool’s surface, it has zero chances of aggravating your injuries.
According to an expert opinion only in cases of hip flexor injury, you should avoid aqua jogging. Because in that case, the hip muscles and bones can be strained due to the resisting force of water.
As the name suggests, aqua jogging is almost like mimicking jogging but underwater. Thus it is an aerobic process that increases oxygen circulation and helps to keep running-related lower body muscles fit and active.
Probably the only disadvantage of aqua jogging is that you require a pool whose depth is significantly more than your height. Because without it you won’t be able to jog without touching the bottom surface repeatedly.
However, if you have access to such a swimming pool then you can effectively implement it as your sole workout for the days when your injury is still not healed.
4. Lower The Intensity – Avoid High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT)
People who focus on weight loss or muscle gain are often found undertaking High-Intensity Interval Trainings. In these cases, they perform extremely strenuous exercises like boxing, heavy weight lifting to burn their fat or muscles accordingly.
However, when injured this type of training can be detrimental as they will unnecessarily stress the muscles and strain them. While there is no doubt that High-Intensity training is the best way to pump up your heartbeat rates, there are more alternatives that do the same without much strain.
So if you decide to work out while being injured make sure you avoid any type of high-intensity training like push-ups, pull-ups, weight lifting, or boxing.
5. Switch For Innovative Alternatives – Using The AlterG anti-gravity Treadmill
Most fitness enthusiasts prefer treadmill running as the best form to activate their muscles. However, when injured running on the treadmill can, in turn, lead to swelling and stressing of your wounded muscles (5).In such cases, experts advise people to try Anti Gravity Treadmills instead. This is a special type of treadmill that is designed to use air pressure and help the user unweight during their run. This treadmill is not only effective but also fun to use. For using it the users need to wear specifically designed shorts or pants over their workout clothes. Then they’re zipped or locked inside the bubble chamber of the machine. The air pressure inside the bubble supports the lower body and provides firm support. However, depending on the condition of the injury, this air pressure can be reduced till the user is comfortable with the force. After these settings are made, then the treadmill operates like regular ones with speed and pace adjustments accordingly.
6. Take Some Help To Heal – Using Kinesio Tape (KT) For Binding The Injured Muscles
Often runners and weight lifters sprain their muscles while trying to perform high-intensity workouts. This is an unavoidable mishap of being a fitness enthusiast. While there is probably no way for you to avoid such injuries, it is effective to cope with them and continue working out as usual. That method is using Kinesio Tape. Binding your muscles with Kinesio tapes provides them optimum protection and also helps them firm the ones loosened due to injury.
Kinesiology tape is a relatively new and popular method used by therapists and physiotherapists who are trained in the Kinesio Taping Method by Certified Kinesio Taping Instructors (CKTI) (6).
It is a latex-free hypoallergenic tape that has an acrylic heat-activated backing. This allows the tape to stretch only longitudinally. Researches have proved that these tapes do not have any kind of additional This is a common method to lower pain and firm injured muscles used by athletes. However, if you have a sprained ligament you can even use that irrespective of the fact that whether or not you’re an athlete.
7. Focus On Movements – Walking The Stairs
If you’re someone who jogs a lot then you might be aware of the benefits of climbing stairs. It may sound crazy but merely climbing stairs pumps up your heartbeat like much intense training. (7).
Walking stairs has numerous benefits when it comes to burning fat and reducing your weight. Even if your sole aim is not to reduce fat then also, climbing stairs can serve many benefits to your injured body.
It helps to strengthen your lower body, tone your butt, thighs, and calves, and helps you tone your torso by burning your fat from your love handles and stomach. They can also be quite effective if you want to tone your stomach and focus on building abs. They are the most preferred method of working out when injured because they help in activating the cardiovascular system and your lungs.
Mixing climbing stairs with other low-intensity exercises like skipping, swimming, aqua jogging, etc can help in developing a perfect regime for your injured body. 25-30 minutes of dedicated stair walking is often more effective for burning those calories and increasing your heartbeat than 1-2 hours of intense gym training.
So there is no question of not being completely pumped by mere stair walking because it is as effective as your other intense workout routines.
8. Go Unconventional
For eons, the eastern world has vouchsafed about the healing power of Yoga. Yoga and meditation are considered to be the most effective ways to heal both your body and your mind.
This set of exercises which is predominantly associated with physical and mental enlightenment can be a great alternative for your regular workout regime on days when you’re injured. Yoga has more than hundreds of various asanas. (8) These asanas or postures often focus on different pain points and help to rejuvenate them respectively.
In a broader sense certain asanas like the Surya Namaskar, Bhujanga Asana, Chakra Asana, etc help in flexing the entire body and regulate factors like blood flow, air circulation, and muscle movements. Pairing these yoga postures with freehand exercises and light movement like cycling, jogging, etc can be a great and effective workout regime for people with injuries or those who are trying to heal from them.
So to heal while working out, Yoga can be the best option that any fitness freak can opt for.
9. Monitor the Pain
Most fitness freaks religiously maintain the track record of their calorie intake versus burnout. This helps them to analyze their progress and make alterations to their regimes as and when required.
While working out with injuries, you need to undertake an equally dedicated approach in keeping a track of your wounds. The easiest and the most obvious way to do so is to consult a doctor. He will carry out thorough examinations and medical tests to examine the condition of your injuries from time to time.
Maintaining a chart or graph of the reports will help you visualize the condition of your injuries and implement exercise routines accordingly. This can be useful for you to choose exercises or work out plans that pain you less while helping to get some movements to activate your muscles and keep your calorie count under check.
10. Go Outdoors – Your Body Needs Some Fresh Air and So Does Your Mind
For people who drive satisfaction from sweaty t-shirts and burning muscles, it’s difficult to sit and not move their bodies for days.
To some, it can even become a cause of their depression. To make sure that you don’t feel depressed or start blaming yourself for this plight, you need to take yourself out regularly.
A lazy mindless evening stroll or a focused morning jog can help you boost your stamina as well as your mental health.
Taking ourselves outdoors has a multitude of benefits – Doctors and fitness experts often prefer outdoor exercises over gym training. Especially in case of injuries, being outdoors can help you rejuvenate yourself and give adequate time to your body for healing.
11. Eat To Improve – Implement A Diet That Helps To Heal
Exercising will yield no results if you don’t eat clean and maintain a proper diet. Most fitness experts stress the importance of maintaining a balanced diet along with regular workout regimes.
Often fitness enthusiasts follow specific diet plans to serve specific purposes like muscle gain, weight gain or weight loss, etc. In each of these cases, the food included in the diets contains nutrients that help them to achieve their fitness goals (9).
Similarly, a healing-focused diet will be rich in protein ( to repair injured muscles and facilitate muscle growth) and vitamins and minerals ( to increase the immunity of the body) along with carbohydrates ( to provide energy).
This kind of diet will help provide much-needed stamina and ensure that the injuries are able to heal themselves without draining the overall energy of the body.
Working out has various types of benefits. But the benefits of working out during injuries will depend on how you choose your fitness regime. So it is extremely crucial that you acutely weigh the intensity, target, and other related pros and cons before starting to hit those muscles.
For anyone interested in flexing their muscles and giving their body some movements before completely healing, it is always advisable to seek expert guidance first. Once they receive the expert opinions on whether or not they should continue with their choice, it’ll be sensible to proceed accordingly.
In a case where the injury is mild and it’s safe to start working out. They can change their regular rigorous routine and adopt a lightweight stamina boost-focused one. Using Kinesio tape while working out in such cases can be the best preventive measure, as that will help you to protect your muscles from any further injuries.
Going out to exercise regularly, eating healthy, and maintaining a tolerable working-out plan will not only keep you fit during these painful days but will also ensure that you heal and get relief from the pain as soon as possible.