Returning to exercise is something we all want to do after experiencing an injury. But doing so should be done correctly to avoid further injury. A few months ago, one of my patients Mark, fractured his leg for the first time.
He was out on a bike ride cycling down a hill, lost control, fell off and then…yep! Mark fractured his leg!
Fortunately, the break wasn’t anything too ‘major’, but breaking any bone is going to take some time to heal before getting back into your usual routine.
And Mark was definitely disappointed when he found out he wouldn’t be back on his bike in a hurry.
So, if you’ve suffered a nasty break, or injury that’s pressed pause on your exercise regime, you’ll be relieved to hear that you don’t have to stop completely.
The thing with these types of injuries is, is that getting your strength back is crucial during recovery.
To get back to your exercise routine quickly in the safest way possible, here’s three things that I tell my patients to do (Mark followed these steps, and he’s already back on the bike in the gym!)
1.) Make Sure You Rest The Right Way
When healing from a fracture, or any type of injury, the best thing that you can do is to take your time.
This could take several weeks depending on your injury, and as tedious as this may feel, just remind yourself that you only get one chance to heal after your injury. If you do it the right way, you’ll return to exercise sooner, than if you try to go back too soon.
Don’t do anything that could aggravate your injury even more, and give your body a chance to relax.
2.) Nourish Your Body
Obviously nourishing your body with healthy foods should be common sense – but it’s even more important if you’ve fractured a bone.
Iron rich foods, protein and carbohydrates are essential. Some examples include:
– Chicken and turkey (the darker cuts of meat contain more iron than the light meat)
– Greens such as kale and spinach
– Salmon, tuna and shrimp
Also be sure to consume plenty of calcium. Your body will absorb these nutrients like a sponge and the recovery process will be quicker when you give your body what it needs.
3.) Move Your Joints
A fracture, or painful injury may mean that your joint has been immobilized during the initial recovery process, (especially if it has been in a cast).
Getting your joints functioning again will help to get your body back to it’s full strength quickly. The exercises for getting your joints back to normal will vary depending on what your injury is, however one way to build your strength is to go for gentle walks.
Don’t walk in a rush, take your time, even if you just go walking for 5 minutes at a time, you will eventually build this up and return to exercise as soon as possible.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Kim Gladfelter, MPT, OCS, FAAOMPT
Women's Health Physical Therapy Specialist at PhysioFit Physical Therapy & Wellness
Kim Gladfelter is a physical therapist, Pilates instructor, educator, author, and co-founder of PhysioFit Physical Therapy & Wellness. She is known as a keen, well-rounded expert of healing through movement and women’s health specialist in the Silicon Valley area.
Kim has helped men and women of all ages to stay active and feel their best. She also writes about managing pain in her health columns, blogs and the local Los Altos Town Crier newspaper as well as reaches out to the local community, support groups, schools, libraries, and sports centers to advise and educate on body awareness and therapeutic exercise.