No one ever plans to get hurt. Especially if you’re someone who loves to be active or spends a lot of time working out, you likely pride yourself on your ability to get in daily exercise. But if you become hurt, whether due to a workout injury or some other type of accident, you’ll likely have to sit out a few workouts while you recover.
Depending on the length of time that you have to rest, you might find it challenging making the transition back into regular exercise. So to help ensure that you do things smartly and safely, here are three tips for getting physically fit after sustaining an injury.
Check In With Your Doctor First
Regardless of how active or fit you were when you got hurt, it’s important that you only get back into the swing of things once your body is actually ready for it. And while you might feel mentally ready, and even physically ready by your own standards, it’s always going to be safer to get a second opinion.
The best way to ensure that you’re actually ready, according to Dr. Tyler Wheeler, a contributor to WebMD, is to check in with your doctor first. Even if you didn’t initially go to the doctor for your injury, if you think there’s even a chance that your body might not be properly healed or ready for the stress and strain of working out, it’s much better to be safe now than sorry later.
Start Small And Simple
While you might have been at your peak performance before you got hurt, you’re going to have to dial it back as you get back into the habit of regular exercise. According to Isadora Baum, a contributor to Men’s Health, the best thing to do is start small and simple.
Try to limit your workouts to shorter periods of time and with less weight or intensity that you were doing before. Once you’ve built up your muscles and your tolerance again, you can slowly start adding more until you’re back at your pre-injury fitness.
Don’t Take Any Painkillers Beforehand
If you were working out a lot before you got hurt and putting a lot of stress or strain on your body, it might have been routine for you to take some over-the-counter painkillers either before or after a workout. However, when you’re coming back from an injury, you’re going to want to avoid this.
According to Lauren Shroyer, a contributor to ACEFitness.org, any pain you feel will be a good indicator of how your body is doing and when you’ve reached your limits. So if you’re taking steps to reduce this pain, you may unknowingly push yourself too far too fast and exacerbate your injuries.
To help ensure that you’re able to safely get back to your former level of fitness after an injury, consider using the tips mentioned above as you get ready to hit the gym once again.