Getting back into exercise after injury

Published June 16, 2014

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Whether you’re a competitive athlete or someone who exercises to stay fit, you may experience an injury that affects your exercise routine at some point. If injured, it’s also likely that you’ll need to take a break from your exercise routine to properly recover. However, getting back into regular exercise can be difficult and you may become aware of new limitations or lose a bit of your confidence. Nevertheless, there are ways to carefully return to a regular exercise routine post‐injury, after adequate rest and recovery.

Here are our top tips to achieve this:

  • Start slowly – Although it can be frustrating to scale back your exercise routine, if you go too hard too soon, you run the risk of exacerbating your existing injury or creating a new one. It’s important to gradually build up towards regaining your full exercise capacity.
  • Listen to your body – Don’t ignore your body’s signals of fatigue, discomfort or pain as this may have been what got you into this situation in the first place. Pain after an injury is not a good sign and will only cause more damage to soft muscle tissue and delay healing.1
  • Use taping or bracing where appropriate ‐ If you experience recurrent injuries such as an ankle sprain, taping or bracing may be beneficial over the short‐term.
  • Avoid over‐training – Going too fast or exercising for too long is one common cause of injury. To avoid further setbacks, ensure you warm up and cool down, pay special attention to your technique, allow days for rest and recovery, and mix up your routine by doing a variety of different activities that work different muscle groups.2
  • Be guided by a healthcare professional – Consult a sports medicine doctor, exercise physiologist or physiotherapist about how to manage your specific injury, and safely increase your activity level.

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