Exercise and Injury Rehabilitation
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When exercise is a part of your everyday routine, dealing with an injury that seemingly limits your physical activity can cause frustration and stress. However, depending on the severity of the injury, it can actually be beneficial to continue your workouts while going through the healing process. Meridan Zerner, Cooper Clinic Registered Dietitian Nutritionist and Cooper Fitness Center group exercise instructor, explains the ins and outs of exercising through the injury rehabilitation process.
“First of all, remember that your physician will give you clear guidance as to what you can and cannot do, and it is important to follow those instructions,” says Zerner. “But, physical therapists and professional trainers are equipped to provide modifications for almost every exercise. All exercise programs are tailored to the individual!”
With this in mind, working through an injury can offer the opportunity to focus on flexibility and core strength, which can sometimes be overlooked in favor of aerobic exercise and strength training. “We can use tools such as the foam roller, the stretch strap and other pieces of equipment to challenge muscles away from the injured part of the body,” explains Zerner. “Don’t forget about using the pool for water and movement therapy – swimming, water walking and water striding can be excellent low-impact workouts.”
If you are exercising while rehabilitating an injury, it is important to recognize pain. Pain is the body’s best indicator of whether or not you are straining the injured area during a workout. “There is a definitive difference between challenge and pain,” says Zerner. “Work with your trainer or therapist to develop a plan and make sure you go through pain assessment.”
If you want to exercise but are experiencing pain, it is possible to work around an injury, while still maintaining overall strength and fitness. For example, if you are experiencing knee pain, you may still be able to do some core and upper body exercises. The hormones released during exercise help promote strength, even in the areas of the body that are currently resting. However, working out too much can become an issue when recovering from an injury, especially those involving a joint, muscle or specific body part. Exercise, especially while working through an injury, is all about the quality of movement, not the quantity of movement.
“Working with a physical therapist or trainer is always wise when rehabilitating an injury,” notes Zerner. “They can make sure that your exercise program is balanced, and they can help manage compensation – which can happen as a result of various injuries.” Additionally, remember RICE – Rest, Ice, Compression and Elevate. Variations and combinations of these tools are extremely supportive when it comes to the healing process.
Cooper Fitness Center trainers have various levels of experience with helping clients retain fitness while working through injuries. Some trainers are physical therapists and others are certified muscle activation therapists. For more information about Cooper Fitness Center professional fitness training, visit cooperfitnesscenter.com/pros or call 972.233.4832.
Article provided by Cooper Aerobics Marketing and Communications.