Skip to main content

Central California Life Magazine

Training After an Injury

Jun 28, 2014 02:33PM ● By Cen Cali Life Magazine

Training After an Injury

by Rhonda Murphy

A critical issue to be aware of when beginning to exercise after an injury is recognizing how you’re dealing with the situation psychologically. People often become fearful because they worry they will reinjure their body and do not want to go backward. As a result, they may stop exercising or limit their movement.

So when you start an exercise routine after a major injury, it’s very important to go at your own level and pace. Take it slowly and really concentrate on basic movement, range of motion, posture, balance and proper form.

Men and women are motivated to exercise for different reasons. Typically, women want to lose weight and men want to build muscle. But after an injury, the whole game plan changes. The focus becomes, “How can I prevent this from happening again?” “What do I have to do so it doesn't happen to another body part?” or even, “Am I ever going to be the same?”

One of the most significant problems I see when I'm training clients after an injury is they tend to protect the affected part of their body, as if they’re guarding it. When they do this, they lose their range of motion. Flexibility, therefore, is the first thing you need to work on, to try to get that length back in that injury. Most injuries are at the joint. The joint has given out rather than the ligament or tendon. The muscle is very strong and powerful, but it's the joint that fails you. An essential step is gaining flexibility back in that joint.

Balance is another key piece of the rehabilitation process. Following an injury, the body often favors the opposing muscle, causing loss of balance. The next step is to work on getting your body even again, whether it's right to left, front to back, or the upper body to the lower body. When you work on all phases of balance, that's when you start to build your confidence. That way, when you bend over to pick something up or reach to get something, you have that power of balance.

Posture is also a fundamental element, which relates to balance. When you become injured, again we talk about the act of protecting or guarding because of potentially reinjuring yourself. This pattern can greatly alter posture. You end up slumping over a little bit more, making you appear injured. To address this problem, it’s vital to do exercises to open up the chest cavity, for example, to increase range of motion and regain good posture. This boosts confidence because once you expand the cavity, you naturally stand taller and hold your chin higher. Don’t forget to keep strengthening your core as well to improve posture.

Consistency is the primary component of rehabilitation. It's the key to getting better after an injury. And the more you implement these elements on a regular basis, the stronger and healthier you will become–including reducing the possibility of another injury.