Exercise is part of a healthy lifestyle, and many people add running, biking, playing sports, or going to the gym as a part of their daily routine. Although this is a very beneficial thing to add to your routine, you can also injure yourself quite easily. Even the safest of athletes become injured. The question is, how long should you wait to exercise after an injury? If you go back too quickly, you risk potentially re-injuring or causing more harm. If you wait too long, then you are wasting unnecessary time. OC Pain has a staff full of knowledgeable chronic pain experts that can give you insight into this topic if you have further questions.
How Long Should I Wait to Return to Exercising?
There is some ambiguity to the answer. The question of when to exercise after an injury is directly related to what type of injury you have. Instead of counting down the days, you need to take it each day at a time and listen to your body. Once the pain has subsided for a few days while you are doing a normal activity at work, home, or school, it’s time to give the return to exercise a try. This can take days, weeks, or months.
It is important to continue resting until the injury has subsided during non-exercise activities. Always start off slow, and be sure to test the abilities of your injured body part carefully. If you jump right back into your exercise at 100%, you can easily reinjure the body part. A good rule is that the amount of time you took off from exercising is the same amount of time it will take you to build back to 100% while exercising.
Things you can do to Speed up the Recovery Process
For many of us, patience is not our strongest characteristic. Although returning to exercise too early is bad, there are some things you can do to speed up the recovery process. Rest may be essential to your injury healing, but don’t just sit around doing nothing. Work on areas around the injury that can still be utilized, or lighten your load and continue to exercise the rest of the body while you wait.
Keeping your body healthy will aid its ability to heal the injured area. A natural way to help reduce inflammation is a hot-cold alternating routine. Try a few rounds using 10 minutes of heat on the injured area, followed by 5 minutes of ice.
Your diet plays a huge factor in the bodies efficiency for healing, so keep it healthy. Massages of the injured area are also beneficial. Finally, keep the injured area mobile by using light stretches or yoga.
How to Safely Return to Exercise After an Injury
The most important tip to a positive return is taking it slow. While you are recovering, it is a good idea to shift your mindset. Don’t expect to return at the level you left it. Decrease your training volume when you return, and listen to your body as you progress. If you push too hard and end up re-injuring the area, you’re back to square one.
If there is pain that lasts for hours after you’ve completed your exercise, that is your body telling you that it is not ready. Discomfort is expected when exercising, but pain is never a good sign. A good way to start off slow is by lightening the intensity and load extremely low, and gradually increasing it over time.
Take the time to safely recover when you decide to exercise after an injury. OC Pain has been handling pain management in Orange County for a long time and will be able to give you insight into how to properly handle an exercise injury.