Resuming your workouts after an injury can be mentally and physically draining. You want to get back in shape and regain your strength, but you're dealing with pain and soreness. Plus, some exercises might be off-limits.
Generally, it takes about two weeks of inactivity to start losing strength. Your cardiovascular endurance drops even faster. However, if you were in good shape before getting injured, it shouldn't take you long to regain your fitness.
The key is to take small steps when exercising after injuries. Doing too much too soon can affect your recovery. In the worst-case scenario, it could lead to a new injury.
Not sure where to start? Use these tips to resume your workouts and get back in shape after a long break!
First things first, don't expect to perform at the same level as before the injury. Even basic exercises like the squat or lunge can feel like running a marathon.
Leave your ego at the door and progress at your own pace. Start with lighter weights and increase the load gradually. Listen to your body and stop if anything hurts.
Don't be surprised if you're feeling like a newbie. Acknowledge your limitations and try to work around them. For example, you might not be able to do barbell back squats, but this doesn't mean you can't do bodyweight squats.
What matters most is to focus on what you can do rather than what you can't.
While it can be tempting to rush back into your favorite CrossFit workout, it's better to wait until you're fully recovered.
When you work out at high intensity, it's easier to make mistakes. Plus, strenuous exercise can be hard on the joints.
High-intensity interval training (HIIT), for example, puts a lot of stress on the central nervous system. As a result, it carries a higher risk of injury and can slow down your recovery.
To stay safe, increase workout frequency and intensity over several weeks. Start with basic workouts, see how your body responds, and adjust your training routine accordingly.
Muscle memory is real, but this doesn't mean you should start squatting 200 pounds from day one. Remember, exercising after injuries can be tricky. If you push yourself too hard, you might end up with pain, soreness, or new injuries.
As a rule of thumb, start with low weights. Better yet, use resistance bands, exercise balls, or other gym accessories. Get a set of adjustable dumbbells or elastic bands and work out at home for a few weeks.
This strategy will allow you to build up your strength and endurance in a safe manner. Sure, you can go to the gym, but it's important to take things slowly.
Getting back in shape after an injury requires planning and commitment. Build a weekly workout schedule, start with small steps, and stick to your routine.
Note that what you eat is just as important as your training routine. Fill up on protein and plan your meals around your workouts. Use quality supplements to fuel your energy and recover faster from training.
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