How to use the Gym to Recover from an Injury | Fitness & Rehabilitation
Using the Gym to Recover from an Injury - Fitness & Sports Rehabilitation
Being active and exercising is great for a multitude of reasons, but it's important to remember that pushing your limits physically always comes with the risk of injury, and those injuries can range from shoulder injuries, knee injuries, low back injuries, and an array of other workout injuries.
If you do get hurt, as well as the long recovery process, chances of further injury, and delays in getting back to full recovery, it can also be really tough to stay motivated. Fortunately, there are a few things you can do to help reduce your risk of injury and help stay on track even if you do get hurt without rushing straight to your physical therapist.
No one likes having to take a break from the gym, but it's even worse when you know that you have to. It can feel like your health and fitness goals are slipping away the longer you have to stay away from the gym.
However, there are some things that you can do to stay on track even while you're recovering from an injury.
Rebuilding weak muscles and improving body balance
Being injured is never fun. You can't move like you used to and everything hurts. The first thing you should do when you're injured is follow the "RICE" method: rest, ice, compression, elevation. Once the swelling has gone down and it's no longer painful to move the limb or engage the muscle, you can start addressing the underlying problems.
A lot of injuries, both chronic and acute, are caused by muscle imbalances. So it's important to understand how those work. Muscles can become imbalanced for a number of reasons.
Maybe you overdeveloped one muscle group while neglecting others. Maybe an injury caused one muscle to weaken while the surrounding muscles got stronger in compensation. Whatever the reason, when muscles are out of balance, it can put strain on joints and cause pain.
When any muscle in your body is overpowered by its opposite perhaps due to an injury on the opposite muscle, your posture and balance can be negatively effected. Joints can become misaligned, and other muscles might have to take on extra strain during exercises where they should be mostly at rest.
Weak or imbalanced muscles might not be unable to effectively support joints or your bodies balance, which in the long term as you age could worsen symptoms in conditions like osteoarthritis.
Like most things in life the sooner these things are corrected the quicker you can be on the road to recovery and the quicker the imbalance issues are a thing of the past.
Exercise can increase your muscles ability to repair
When your working out more blood is supplied to your muscles to help them perform, in this same logic research suggests that the increased blood flow, which brings with it oxygen, hormones and nutrients can help to repair the muscle from any injury, whilst we don't recommend strenuous exercise, careful movement of injured muscles can help them to recover and maintain flexibility.
By undertaking light exercise it can help to heal any damage caused to the muscle quicker than resting alone whilst ensuring your maintain the flexibility across the the muscle.
"Increasing blood flow and circulation helps with the healing process. Rehabilitative Exercise encourages you to move appropriately, thereby avoiding further injury. Rehabilitative Exercise also reduces inflammation and helps prevent complications such as scar tissue, which can interfere with mobility and recovery" - https://www.pinnaclehealthchiro.com/blog/why-rehabilitative-exercise-after-an-injury-is-so-important - Jason Ablett, DC, Kirkland, WA
Exercise is Great for your Mental Wellbeing
Being injured can be pretty tough psychologically and emotionally. It's easy to feel like you're falling behind in your fitness progress and that all of your previous achievements don't matter. Additionally, the constant pain can be quite depressing. However, there are things you can do to try and improve your outlook and make the best of a difficult situation. Surround yourself with positive people, set small goals, and take things one day at a time.
When you're injured, it's all the more reason to keep exercising. Even though it may be painful, exercising releases endorphins into your body. Endorphins are hormones that make you feel good and relieve pain, they give you what's called "runners high" and have even been linked to the effects of morphine.
Exercise can Improve your Sleep
Many people love the gym and get many benefits from it, improved mental health, social wellness, improved sleep, fitness and health just to name a few. Its the improved sleep bit that counts here for the human body.
Your body recovers at a significantly increased rate during your sleep, and sticking to a exercise routine often helps you to sleep, it will also help you to recover more quickly.
"THE MAJORITY OF MUSCLE REPAIR AND GROWTH OCCURS
DURING SLEEP WHEN HORMONES ARE RELEASED" - https://www.wm.edu/offices/sportsmedicine/_documents/sleep-manual - PDF - P5.P4 John Underwood: Director, Keara White: Research Assistant WM University
We hope you find this blog useful and manage to use the information to help recover from any sporting or gym injury you may have.
Recovering from an injury can be a lengthy ordeal and take time and patience, always seek medical advice or see a qualified practitioner or your doctor for any injury of health complication.
It can be seen however that light exercise can be very beneficial to the rehabilitation and recovery of injuries, as well as bringing many other benefits such as, helping you to sleep better because it releases melatonin, which makes your body tired.
It can help with weight loss by burning calories, can be good for your for your heart health because it strengthens your heart muscles and lowers blood pressure.
It improves brain function by increasing oxygen supply to the brain, which improves memory and thinking skills, and it can improve your mental wellbeing and mood by increasing your endorphin levels.
Like all injuries though if it doesn't get better be sure to talk to your doctor, medical practitioner or physical therapist which can greatly reduce the time of the recovery process, improving your fitness level and helping you to remain active and reduce future sports injuries.
Once your fully recovered take it easy for a while ensuring you don't have any overuse injuries which will help prevent future injuries to connected muscle groups, be sure to start back on gentle exercise whilst intaking a lot of healthy foods to keep you on the right path to full recovery
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