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How to Stay Fit While Recovering from an Injury? Here Are 7 Basic Exercises to Keep the Muscles Moving

Stay fit while recovering from an injury (Image via Pexels/Photo by Nathan Cowley)
Stay fit while recovering from an injury (Image via Pexels/Photo by Nathan Cowley)
Shuvangi Sen Chaudhury

If you want to stay fit while recovering from an injury, the whole idea of a workout routine changes. Right off the bat, you cannot exercise the injured body part.You need to give it the required amount of rest for it to heal.

Therefore, if you have hurt your ankle and knees, you cannot do exercises such as squats, leg presses, or lunges. However, that does not mean you cannot work on your upper body during this time. But, even before you think about lifting weights when recovering from an injury, you should focus on some basic exercises that will keep you sane and avoid depleting your physical fitness.

Now, as mentioned, it’s tricky to stay fit while recovering from an injury. You need to know how to moderate each exercise to a point where it does not affect the injured area.

Here are 7 basic exercises that will help you stay fit while recovering from an injury

The following exercises are going to help you remain fit, but not all of them are doable during any type of injury. It’s important to understand which ones you can do with which injury as you try to stay fit while recovering from an injury.

Exercises to do while injured (Image via Pexels/Photo by Pixabay)
Exercises to do while injured (Image via Pexels/Photo by Pixabay)

Exercises to do when recovering from an upper body injury

As mentioned, not every exercise is suitable for all injuries. Here’s a list of what you can do during an upper body injury.

1) Stationary bike/elliptical/treadmill

These are the three basic cardio equipment found at any gym. Now, you can only use either of them to maintain your fitness levels during an injury if you have injured your upper body.

For example, if you have sustained a shoulder injury or a muscle tear around your chest, biceps, or triceps, the cardio equipment is your go-to machine for fitness. You do not need to move around your upper body when using the machines, and the slight movement you make will not make the injury worse.

It is advised to try and make small movements using an injured body part to prevent the muscles from becoming stiff. However, this is based on the fatality of the injury. It is wise to seek professional advice before attempting cardio when trying to stay fit while recovering from an injury.

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2) Bodyweight lower body exercises

Again, when you injure your upper body, it’s better to focus on your lower body. But try sticking to body weight for exercises such as lunges and squats.

When you use your bodyweight, your upper body does not have to support any external resistance. You can do them without having to hold a barbell or a dumbbell. Not only does it save the injured part from external resistance, but it gives it time to heal.

Additionally, using weights will cause your muscles to grow, and you may end up with a disproportionate upper body and lower body by the time you recover from the injury.

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3) Running/walking

There are multiple benefits to walking and running. However, when individuals have access to a gym, most of the time there is no running or walking outside unless you are an avid runner.

Now, when your upper body is injured, what you can do at the gym becomes limited. You can spend two days a week training your lower body using body weight or lighter weights. On other days, you can go for a run or go for a power walk.

Walking and running will assist you in maintaining your overall fitness levels instead of just focusing on a specific body part.


Exercises to do when recovering from a lower body injury

When the lower body is injured, it becomes difficult to travel back and forth from the gym. Regardless of what you do, your legs play a crucial role at the gym and can be a hindrace to you trying to stay fit while recovering from an injury. Here’s what you can do instead.

4) Body weight workouts

You are much more likely to be able to do body weight workouts at home when trying to stay fit while recovering from an injury, especially a lower body injury.

Some of the exercises you can do are knee push ups (provided your knee is not injured) or toe push ups (provided your toe is not injured).

Apart from that, you can do pull ups, use resistance bands to do chest press, bicep curls, or even shoulder press when you want to stay fit while recovering from an injury.

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5) Swimming

If you can access a swimming pool and are able to make it to the pool, you must take advantage of the healing time to do the same.

When you are in the swimming pool, while your upper body gets worked on, your lower body will not be in distress. It is much easier for injured ankles, knees, and lower body to move in water than on solid ground. It’s a low-impact, high-resistance cross-training method which allows you to engage the same muscles as running without putting immense stress on it.

Upper body workouts (Image via Pexels/Photo by Guduru Ajay bhargav)
Upper body workouts (Image via Pexels/Photo by Guduru Ajay bhargav)

6) Yoga

There is no ounce of doubt that there are several benefits to doing yoga. So, when you are attempting to stay fit while recovering from an injury, you can definitely make yoga a part of your daily routine.

Yoga will help you work on your mobility, flexibility, and help the healing process. Additionally, it will aid you in attaining a relaxed state of mind as well.


7) Physiotherapy

There are times when you have injured your lower or upper body and you need professional help to heal. As a result, physiotherapy is something you should consider.

It will keep your body moving while progressively increasing your fitness levels as well as the stress on the injured area.


Things to keep in mind when healing from an injury

It’s important to continue trying to stay fit while recovering from an injury, but it is also important to know a few things before attempting to exercise.

1) Do not over do it: You do not need to work out at the same intensity as you usually do when healing from an injury. The idea is to keep your body moving so your fitness levels do not drop drastically.

2) Monitor your heart rate: The body is already weak during the healing process. Hence, monitoring the heart is of utmost importance. If your heart rate goes up too high, cool down for a while before working out any further.

3) It’s okay to rest: While maintaining your physical fitness is important, you also need to remember to give yourself ample rest. Do not let your workouts during the healing process triumph over actual healing.

You should be good to go if you attempt the above exercises while trying to stay fit while recovering from an injury.


Edited by Diptanil Roy

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