How to Keep Fit While Injured

Method 1 Arm and Shoulder Injuries

Whether you’re an athlete or someone who just likes to stay fit and active, getting injured can be an incredibly frustrating setback. Fortunately, there are still plenty of things you can do to keep fit and get the physical activity you need while you’re healing! Talk to your doctor or a physical therapist about adjusting your exercise routine so you can get back on track as quickly as possible. Don’t forget to take care of your overall health to promote faster healing.

Focus on exercising your lower body while your arm heals. If your arm or shoulder is injured, you may have to give your upper body a rest for a while. However, you can still do exercises that target your core and legs.

Maintain strength on your uninjured side with unilateral arm exercises. Even if you can’t work out one arm or shoulder, keep exercising the other one if possible. This will help prevent a muscle imbalance with your lower body.

Do gentle arm and shoulder stretches to improve flexibility. As your arm or shoulder heals, do stretches to increase your range of motion and prevent future injuries.

Build up to strengthening exercises to prevent future injury. Once your doctor or physical therapist gives you the all-clear, you can start doing gentle upper-body exercises using your injured arm or shoulder.

Avoid movements that overextend the injured area. While it’s important to start using your injured arm or shoulder again as soon as possible, don’t do anything to aggravate the injury.

Method 2 Neck and Back Injuries

Try water aerobics to reduce stress on your spine. Doing cardio is a vital part of keeping in shape, but many types of cardio exercise can be jarring to your neck and back. Go swimming or sign up for a water aerobics class to get your heart pumping while also providing extra support for your spine.

Do gentle stretches that focus on your shoulders, hips, knees, and ankles. When you’ve injured your back or neck, your mobility might be limited—which puts you at risk of developing stiff joints.

Stabilize your spine with core-strengthening exercises. A strong core can help support your neck and spine, reducing pain and making you less likely to injure yourself again.

Pay close attention to posture and form during any exercise. Using proper form during exercise is vital for preventing new injuries and keeping your current injury from getting worse. If you’re not sure how to do an exercise, talk to a physical therapist or personal trainer.

Avoid exercises that twist or bend your spine. Unless your doctor or physical therapist says it’s okay, avoid core exercises that involve twisting, arching, or flexing your spine.

Method 3 Leg Injuries

Focus on exercising your upper body while your leg heals. If you’ve hurt your leg, many lower body exercises may be out of the question for a while—especially weight-bearing ones.

Do seated or reclining exercises to minimize the load on your legs. Standing to exercise can be difficult or even impossible when you have a leg injury. Fortunately, there are plenty of exercises you can do while sitting, lying down, or on all fours—both for your legs and your upper body.

Try water aerobics for a low-impact cardio option. Swimming, water aerobics, and other forms of water exercise are great options if you’re struggling with pain or injury in your legs. If you get the all clear from your doctor or physical therapist, get into the pool and do some gentle exercises, such as walking back and forth, doing light swimming, or pushing off from the bottom of the pool while standing in chest-deep water.

Strengthen your legs with joint-friendly isometric exercises. Isometric exercises target specific muscles without relying on movement that could potentially aggravate an injury.

Try unilateral exercises to maintain your uninjured leg. Even if one leg is out of commission, you can still work out the other one. Try dynamic stretches and strengthening exercises you can do with just one leg at a time to keep up your strength and avoid upper/lower body muscle imbalances.

Method 4 General Tips

Talk to your doctor before returning to exercise post-injury. If you’ve hurt yourself, it’s important to get medical advice about what you can do safely. Have a doctor assess your injury, and ask them when you can safely go back to exercising.

Switch to less challenging exercises for injured areas. Exercising an injured part of your body is an important part of rehabilitation. However, doing too much, too soon can make the injury worse.

Mix up your routine with cross training. Cross training involves alternating between different types of exercise throughout the course of the week. It’s a great way to maintain your overall fitness even if you’re limited from doing your preferred type of exercised because of an injury.

Avoid any exercises that cause pain. Pain is a warning signal from your body, and it’s very important to listen to it when you’re recovering from an injury. If you’re exercising or stretching and you experience pain, stop what you’re doing.

Aim for at least 7-9 hours of sleep per night while you’re healing. Sleep is an important part of your body’s natural regeneration and healing process. If you’re injured, rest up as much as possible to help repair the damage.

Stay hydrated and eat a balanced diet as you heal. Eating and drinking well will give your body the energy it needs to heal and stay strong. During your recovery, keep sipping water as you normally would, even if you’re not exercising as much.

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