As someone who works out regularly, being injured can be tough. If you’ve been training for an event or to reach a personal target, or if you’ve just been enjoying making regular progress, and the benefits that come with being fitter and stronger, then you are bound to be worried about a loss in fitness while you are on the injury bench. Not being able to exercise can affect your mental health, your fitness, and your overall well-being, and most of us are keen to get back to our routines as soon as we can.
If you’ve had a relatively minor injury, you might be able toget going again after a week or two, and chances are, you won’t have lost too much fitness even if you have to take it easy for a while. But if you’ve been more seriously injured and benched for longer, it’s going to take time to build back up to where you were.
Knee injuries are very common in runners especially, but anyone that practices any repetitive movement is bound to face an injury from time to time. Here are some tips to help you to build fitness safely, without rushing and making things worse.
Make Sure You Are Ready
Knee injuries are very common in runners, especially people who regularly run routes that include hills, or that push themselves hard. While many of these injuries just require restand do quickly start to feel better on their own, some require medical care, and will not fully recover without help. In some cases, common conditions such as runner’s knee may requireorthopaedic surgery. If you are worried about a very painful injury, you can’t put any weight on your knee, or you don’t feel like you are recovering as normal, you may need to consult a local orthopaedic services team for further help. Circle Health Care offers a full range of treatments, as well as convenient appointments and great aftercare to get you back out there as soon as possible.
Whatever you do, don’t try to return to activity before you are ready. You’ll only make things worse in the long run.
Listen to Your Body
Even if you feel great, and your knee feels totally back to normal and your doctor has given you all clear, your body won’t be exactly the same. Your strength will have decreased, your fitness levels dropped, and a workout will shock your body in a way that it might not have done for a long time. Throughout your early workouts after an injury, listen to your body extra carefully. Go easy on it, build up slowly, and if you feel like you need to rest, stop, or lower the intensity, do it. See those first workouts as experimental and get used to your new performance levels.
As well as fitness and strength, if you’ve been resting for a long time you are bound to have lost flexibility and range of movement. Your knee might not be able to move as it used to, and your supporting leg muscles will have been affected too. Practice yoga to build strength gradually but also to build flexibility in your hamstrings, knees, and hips.
Practicing yoga on rest days, but also short sessions before and after your workouts can be incredibly beneficial. Carrying on with these practices once you are recovered can help to prevent future injuries and build greater strength and flexibility.
Make Sure You are Mentally Prepared
The last thing that you want to do is go out expecting a great workout, only to push too hard or return disappointed. Make sure you are mentally prepared to take it easy for a while, don’t let yourself be disappointed if your recovery takes longer than you anticipated, and try to stay positive.
If you still aren’t ready to run, cycle or enjoy high-intensity cardio workouts, make some changes to keep your spirits up. Practice yoga, go swimming, try weights, and enjoy a gentle hike. You’ll still be moving, you’ll get to improve at something, and it’ll boost your mental health. Cross-traininglike this will also improve your fitness levels so that your time on the bench doesn’t have as big an effect.
Find the Right Support
If your body is still a little tender, or if you have a recurrentinjury, then using supports can be a great idea. Kinesiologytape is very popular for knee injuries. Taping your knee can give the joint and muscles support without holding you back. Ask your doctor or look online to make sure you are using it properly.
Injuries are a fairly common occurrence when you push your body hard. This means that at some point, most of us are going to face a long period out of action, and the prospect of having to build back up slowly. Doing this safely is the best way to protect your injury, and ensure a full recovery, limiting the chances of a relapse, or permanent damage to your knee.