ShFit Talk #28 - Exercising after an Injury
General Gym Accident Statistics
A study published in 2013 states that there is a rate of 3.1 injuries for every 1,000 hours spent doing CrossFit training..
Every day, there are more than 10,000 people treated in emergency rooms across the country for injuries stemming from sports, recreation, and exercise.
Coming back from an injury is always hard. But it is important to make sure you take the time to come back correctly to reduce the risk of injury later down the road.
1. Get your doctor's OK.
So often we think we are ready, and itching to get back to it. But before you jump back in feet first it is important to get the all clear from your doctor. Even if you think the answer will be yes, it is always better to be safe than sorry. Depending on the injury you had, you may even have been working with a Physical therapist and they will often provide you with moves to help strengthen and stretch the area. Remember to keep up with them.
You shouldn't return to your sport or activity until the pain, swelling, and stiffness have improved a lot. If you push yourself too soon you could end up making the injury worse and causing a longer set back and recovery time.
Once you get the green light from the doctor and the swelling, stiffness and pain has started to go down take some time to get your mindset right. When we go from working out to not being able to, sometimes it can cause depression. We have lost our escape or our stress reliever, so before we get back into it, take the time to ask yourself a few questions first.
What caused the injury the first time?
How are you planning on getting back into your fitness journey?
You won’t be able to jump back at 100% like before so it is important to stay forces and stay positive. Most injuries are temporary, so it makes sense to remind yourself that you will be able to return to the sport or activity you enjoyed it’s just going to take some time to regain the speed and strength you had.
3. Start slow.
This is a hard one for me, and I am sure for others. Before the injury, or in my case surgery. I was running and lifting heavy. I was all about spending at least 60 min a day workout out pushing myself to try and surpass new goals. But now it is important to dial back a bit. A good guideline is to start at about 50% of your "normal" level, and increase by about 10% to 15% each week -- assuming your symptoms don't flare-up during or after each session.
And don’t forget to warm up and cool down!
4. Listen to your body.
A little discomfort is OK. A lot is not and you need to tune in to what your body is telling you. If you start to feel pain remember a little pain while exercising can be ok. Sometimes you have to push past that, but AGONY, SHARP pain is never a good thing. If you feel that STOP! If the pain is very bad, or if it lasts for an hour or more after you've completed your exercise, take that as a sign that you've gone too far. You may have to rest for 1 to 3 days before you try again.
5. Professional Assistance
Working with a certified personal trainer is a great way to slowly get back into a fitness regiment. They can help you increase your mobility and provide you with a structured format to get back to your pre-injury level. Let someone professional help you make decisions. It will help to reduce the risk of re-injuring yourself and you may even pick up some new moves. A fitness professional can also help you with your nutrition and diet. Since you will be starting off at an easier level then before, you won’t be exercising as much so you won’t need to consume as many calories. Not only can working with a trainer provide you with a workout program, but also help you prepare meal plans and provide you with nutrition advice.