Returning to exercise can be a daunting prospect if injury or illness has kept you away. Indeed, it may feel like the last thing you should be doing. Of course, you must be careful not to make things worse, but eventually doing nothing becomes counterproductive.
In many cases, exercise helps rather than hinders your recovery, but you need to get it right.
Talk to a Professional
Your GP is the best place to start, especially if you’ve already seen them about your problem. They can direct you to more specialised care if necessary. It’s imperative you deal with someone who has knowledge of your condition or injury, as the wrong exercise will cause further problems. A physio, chiropractor or osteopath for example will give you suitable exercises for your condition and help with rehab.
Always Ask Questions
Never be afraid to ask questions. Your physio may be experienced but do they have knowledge of your specific issues? If not, keep looking for someone who has. Don’t be afraid to shop around.
Take It Easy
You need to start carefully, and the best way is the simplest; a gentle walk is the most natural movement for the human body so this can be the ideal way to begin. Swimming is another safe way to get you going again, as water gently supports your limbs and cushions them from impact and damage.
Don’t Forget to Warm Up
When you’ve built up to something more taxing like light weights, gentle yoga or easy cardio ALWAYS warm up and cool down properly. Gentle stretching, using a foam roller and deep breathing exercises will protect muscles and ligaments, and help to restore healthy blood pressure and heart rate.
Look After Your Core
When you’re ready it’s important to do something to strengthen your core. It’s vital for improving your balance and posture. Any problems in these areas can lead to injury even if you’re not exercising, and will certainly cause issues if you are.
Listen to Your Body
Even if you feel fine, it’s important to stick to gentle and easy exercise at first. You may feel you’re doing very little at this point; in fact, you’ve already taken a big step in the right direction. Don’t overdo it though – even a little physical activity can be exhausting after a period without it, and too much will set you back and possibly exacerbate the problem.
Hydration, Food and Sleep
Getting these things right is important at any time, but your particular condition may require something more specific in terms of nutrition. Your trainer or healthcare practitioner will be able to help with this or direct you to someone who can – for example, a nutrition specialist – to find out what’s best for you.
Eating well is essential for your recovery and general wellbeing. We all know what to do – avoid junk food and eat a good range of vegetables, fruit, beans and pulses, lean meat and oily fish (if you eat these). Always keep hydrated with plenty of fluids (and this doesn’t mean alcohol and fizzy pop!) and up your intake as necessary when exercising.
Essential Maintenance for Your Lower Body
Your recovery is going to involve your lower limbs in some way, whatever route you take. At Feet By Pody we’ll check your feet, ankles and knees to ensure they’re ready for exercise. We’ll also give you advice on the right footwear.
We look forward to supporting you on the road to recovery.