Successfully Returning To Exercise After Injury

Updated: Apr 2, 2021


There is a lot of psychological stress and fear associated with starting exercise after a period of inactivity or recovering from injury. Most of us wish we could jump back and push our best weights the same way we once did. Starting back at 5 lbs can be a drastic blow to the ego. Some of us may have fear of re-injury or getting hurt during exercise. These tips below will help you avoid injury and and train smart so that you can have a successful transition back into exercise with increased durability and confidence.


Prepare For A Patient Start

Allow yourself at least 1 to 2 weeks into your exercise program without ambition to get into the flow of things. Body awareness can take a bit of time to come back from inactivity and injury, so try not to get ahead of yourself and be excessive.


Map Out An Action Plan

Exercise is not about focusing on the one day goals or 2 minute abs. It requires a mid-term and long term focus. Just like the seasons change, the body will require different details at different points of your exercise routine. Be strategic on how you choose to view your first month vs what you see yourself doing after 180 days of consistency.


Manage Your Expectations

As you map out your routine, aim low in the beginning. Use it as a test period, study your routine day to day and create expectations based on results and data. It is important to leave your emotions behind when dealing with exercise. In the right balance, exercise can improve your well being, but if carelessly handled, it can cause injury.


Body Awareness is Key

Pay close attention to how you feel as you exercise. Pain allows humans to intelligently stop and change their course. A zombie that does not feel pain will continue to break down. A general rule that really works is to categorize your pain levels. Use a pain scale of 1 to 10. If you feel 1 there is no pain and you can raise the intensity. If you feel 5-7 it is a nice challenging area to be. If you feel 8 or 10, you may be going too hard during rehabilitation. Bringing body awareness to the mix will allow you to choose better options and make better decisions.


Re-Evaluate and Adjust Routine

Always change your fitness routine every 3-9 weeks. Athletes that are constantly active should change their program every 3 to 5 weeks. Normal or New exercisers should change their program every 6 to 9 weeks. This is important because our bodies change and adapt, and we want to make sure our program reflects our goals and physical capabilities.


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