One of the biggest dilemmas faced by clients is when to get back to the gym after an injury, even if the injury isn’t related to the workout. While most want to work out to maintain the progress they’ve made, they also fear they’ll end up injuring themselves worse and being away from the gym even longer. There’s no right or wrong answer. It all depends on the injury, where it’s located and how you feel.
Did your injury come from working out?
Soreness is part of exercise. You should be sore after a workout. However, if it’s debilitating soreness that started a few days after your session, it may be DOMS—delayed onset muscle soreness. Always check with your doctor make sure it’s nothing more severe. If it’s not, rather than exacerbating the soreness, switch your workout to focus on another group of muscles for a few days. If everything hurts, take a walk to get your blood circulating. It will help you heal and feel better quicker.
Always take the advice of your doctor.
I see three types of people in the gym. There’s the average person that takes precautions, but doesn’t let a lot stop him or her from sticking with their plan. These people tend to know their body enough that when something hurts, they know if it’s serious. The second type of person is the worry wart that is afraid every ache and pain is life threatening. They normally go to the doctor to relieve their mine, so they aren’t a problem when it comes to working out while injured, either. The last group are the die-hard push through everything people. They’d workout with a broken bone poking through their skin if they didn’t see it. These are the scariest type for me. I encourage you to know your body and seek medical attention when something is definitely out of whack.
Switch your workout to something that keeps you moving, but doesn’t put pressure on the injury.
You need to exercise to boost the healing power of the body. The more you workout, the more you improve your circulation that boosts healing. If you worry you’ve torn a ligament in the knee or simply have a lot of knee pain, don’t go for a walk or a run. Sit down and do some weight lifting that works your upper body. If your arms feel like they have razors going through the muscle, take a walk. Switch the type of exercise you do, but do exercise.
- Don’t be a hero. Working through the pain isn’t good. If you’ve had an injury, start slowly. If you feel pain, quit. It means you’re not ready yet and working out could undo the healing that took place.
- Try rest, ice, a compression wrap or elevation of the injured are. These are ways to help the injury heal initially.
- If the injury occurred in the gym, work with your trainer to find out why. Did you do the workout wrong or do you have a muscle group that’s weak, letting a smaller group of muscles takes over for its tasks and causing injury.
- Make sure you warm up and cool down every time you exercise to help prevent future injuries.