Getting back to exercise after injury or surgery can be discouraging. You have the motivation but you do not know where to start. You remember 2 or 3 exercises your physical therapist showed you and you watched all the YouTube channels you can on your condition but when you get in the gym it’s not the same as it was pre- injury. Here are a few tips to help you get back in to shape without further injuring yourself.
- Continue your PT exercises
One of the biggest mistakes people make after they have been released from physical therapy or chiropractic care is stop doing the basic exercises that was showed to them during rehab. If you cannot perform these exercises correctly and without fatigue you should not move on to more advanced exercises. Therapy exercises are designed to improve function. Weight training or regular exercise is to improve performance. Build on the basics then move to more advanced exercises.
- Seek out a fitness professional who specializes in post rehabilitation.
Even if you do not plan on training with this person a good specialist will at least tell you where to start. Knowing where to start can make a difference in how you approach your time in the gym.
- Start Slow.
The first thing people do when they decide to exercise again after surgery or injury is go back to the way they worked out before with the same intensity or a little less. Start slow, if you are used to doing 3 sets of an exercise start with one. If you used to walk 30 minutes start with 15. Your PT or doctor should have made you aware of the limitations of your condition so don’t push past that. Once you have returned strength and range of motion consult with your doctor or PT to see if you can do more.
- Stop if pain occurs.
The saying “no pain no gain” is a red flag and should not apply to a post-surgery, post injury individuals. In rehab, you may have felt pain doing exercises which is normal because after an injury there is a lot more inflammation and the body is still in repair mode. If you have a level 1 pain without exercise but have a level 7 with exercise you are either doing something wrong or doing too much.
Many people take years to get back to exercise after an injury. If you are cleared to exercise you should start immediately. A sedentary lifestyle only adds to the injury you currently have and may lead to more injuries the longer you wait to begin.