Unfortunately, injuries happen. When they do, they can be quite the setback for your fitness routine. Instead of finding ways to work around an injury, it’s tempting to wait until your body has healed before resuming exercise. While that’s an appropriate response to major injuries (think: broken rib or head injury), it doesn’t have to be the protocol for all aches and pains. In fact, if you’re able to safely exercise around an injury, you can continue with a consistent routine and not risk losing all the strength and endurance you’ve worked so hard to build. Here are three ways to safely and effectively keep moving through an injury:
Focus on a different part of the body: You can maintain your fitness regimen by focusing on a part of your body that’s not affected by your injury. For example, if you hurt your shoulder, you can focus on lower-body exercises such as squats, lunges, lateral movements and seated leg presses. You can even work the arm that isn’t injured by doing single-arm exercises. By focusing on what you can do rather than what you can’t do, there are always to keep fit.
Try different variations: Performing an alternate variation of an exercise can mean the difference between feeling pain and feeling fine. Let’s say you pulled a chest muscle, and push-ups are out of the question. You may find that doing a light bench press with your elbows brushing against your body feels fine as opposed to a 90-degree angle. In that scenario, the change in elbow position puts more emphasis on the triceps as opposed to the chest muscles. Play around with different variations of an exercise until you find something that doesn’t aggravate your injury.
Stretch it out: It depends on the injury, but stretching and foam rolling can go a long way for aches and pains such as pulled muscles, sprains and tight joints. Stretching is a great way to regain mobility, and foam rolling breaks up tough tissue and gets blood moving to the affected area for quicker recovery.
Keep in mind, it’s always best to consult with a doctor or medical expert before exercising with an injury. And when in doubt, rest is essential. If your gut is telling you to take it easy rather than push through an injury or work around it, that may very well be what’s best for your body.
Jason DeHenzel has trained some of New York’s most prestigious clients, including high-profile lawyers, advertising executives, movie producers and musicians. Sophie DeHenzel is a Pn1-certified nutritionist and former downhill ski racer. The pair founded DeHenzel Training Systems, a 2015 Home-Based Business of the Year from the Loudoun County Chamber of Commerce. DeHenzel Training Systems develops customized fitness plans for clients of different abilities, experience and commitment. Find out more at dtsnova.com.