Everybody knows the health benefits that come with regular exercise, no matter your age, but should you be unfortunate enough to suffer an accident and become injured it can greatly impact your physical fitness.
I was recently the victim of a road traffic accident which left me out of training for many weeks and greatly impacted my life. Although you can take positive actions like reading a Guide To Claiming Road Traffic Accident Injury Compensation, the mental and physical effect it can have on you is often considered of higher importance. Along with seeking professional help – e.g from a physiotherapist or psychiatrist, there are other steps that you can take to help you get back on track. Here are some of my top tips that may help you following an accident…
Create A Realistic Exercise Schedule
When you feel ready physically and emotionally, it’s time to create an exercise schedule that you can realistically stick to. By detailing the days in which you will work out, including how long you will do it for you’ll be more motivated and determined to return to fitness.
Although the process won’t be easy, this is an essential starting point from which you can develop – start low and slow and gradually work your way up because charting progress, no matter how small after injury, is a way to notice positive steps forwards. A physiotherapist and personal trainer may be able to help you to set goals should you need further advice.
Determine Your Limits
After an injury you need to determine your limits and take it easy. During this stage, you need to remain as optimistic as you can whilst knowing how far you can safely push yourself. Recognise your weaknesses and discover ways in which you can turn them into strengths again.
If you simply focus on the negatives you may start to have negative thoughts that affect your workout; so keep your thoughts positive, looking into ways in which you can get back to the fitness level that you were once at.
If you have an arm injury, consider concentrating on lower body exercises that don’t require the use of your arms or shoulders. Alternatively, find low-intensity workouts that strengthen the site of injury slowly without risking more damage and gradually build up your endurance before raise your weights.
Skip High Intensity or Long Workouts
If you were frequently taking on high intensity and long workouts before your accident don’t expect your body to be able to handle them post-injury. It will take time for your body to return to the way that it was and you don’t want to prolong your injury by making things worse.
As time goes on, you’ll naturally lose endurance and muscle – it’s an unfortunate fact of life, but it’s ok, you’ve been through a trauma and need to recover. Although you’ll notice this decline in aerobic capacity it doesn’t mean that it will be this way forever. It’s best that you ease yourself back into your workouts which don’t have to be dull and boring, just a modified version of what you were capable of before being injured.
If you are used to running for hours at a time, you could still work out for around the same duration but doing a fast walk instead. By swinging your arms to stimulate contraction – if you’re safely able to – you’ll find that your aerobic energy system will start to regenerate. Of course, if you find that you’re struggling at any point you should listen to your body and give it the rest that it needs before starting again. It doesn’t matter how many times it takes, just listen to your body and recognise what you can and can’t do.
Seek An Expert Trainer’s Advice
It was invaluable to seek the advice of an expert trainer and physiotherapist after my injury as it’s a great way to get back to your fitness level because they can help you to discover suitable exercises to get you back on track. They will also guide you about how far you can push yourself and motivate you throughout your recovery.
Although it might seem like a large amount of financial outlay, they can prove to be invaluable in the long term for a speedy recovery and in some cases are even covered by an insurance policy so it’s worth reading your insurance documents to check.
Keep Hydrated And Eat Well
As well as physical fitness it’s vital that you keep hydrated and eat well throughout your recovery process. Step away from any unhealthy foods, sugar or alcohol and focus on keeping hydrated with plenty of water. Whilst helping your body to heal and get back in shape through a clean diet you’ll also feel a lot more motivated and energised in yourself.
Discover The Power Of Heat And Ice
This will of course depend on your doctor’s recommendations, but ice and heat can be invaluable throughout the recovery process. Ice will help with muscle soreness after you workout and can reduce any swelling that you’re facing. Heat on the other hand is very beneficial for soothing injuries and a combination of the two can work wonders.
To Weight Or Not To Weight
Even if you were an avid gym enthusiast and loved to lift weights as I do, post-injury you really need to get the green light from your doctor or physiotherapist before picking them up again. Once you’re cleared you can start with light weighted movements and bodyweight exercises that don’t put too much pressure on your body or injured muscles.
Whilst I found it very frustrating to be out of routine and condition, my physiotherapist was able to perform muscle techniques and treatments on me which relaxed my muscle tightness and encouraged blood-flow to the area so that I could safely increase my weights when I was ready – as if I stopped exercising entirely my muscles would have ceased up, but if I pushed too hard I could aggravate the injury and inflammation.
It’s important that you seek both your doctor’s and your trainer’s advice when considering how light the weights should be for how long as it will depend on the individual type of injury that you have, how long ago it occurred and what stage of your recovery you are at.