How to maintain your fitness (and recover properly) when injured

Getting sidelined with an injury sucks. Photo credit: Will Winter Photography

Getting sidelined with an injury sucks.
Photo credit: Will Winter Photography

You’ve finally found your exercise groove and are just starting to notice a change in your body when BAM — you get sidelined with an injury. As frustrating as it may be, especially if you were training for a race or other event, getting injured doesn’t mean all your hard work for the past few months was for nothing. Though rest for proper repair is crucial, there are some things you can do during the latter stages of recovery to help you bounce back quicker.

In general, it takes about two to six weeks for muscles to atrophy (meaning you lose some of the gains in strength and size you’ve acquired from your training). However, when you return to training, the rate of strength reattainment is high, meaning your muscles will “remember” their previous state and will bounce back quicker. Although you may be tempted to start training as soon as the pain stops, it’s important to follow instructions from your doctor or physical therapist in regards to when you can start light activity again. If you were an athlete on a team and I was your strength coach, your doctor or athletic therapist would give me a form with your indications (what you can do) and contraindications (what you need to avoid) on it so I can best help you return to training. (more…)