Having an injury or some debilitating bodily ailment can be deflating at times when we think about our gym, training and exercise goals. It can derail our progress and make the road to our exercise and fitness goals that much longer.
In the short term, your exercise, training or gym movements might need to be modified or adapted based on your limitations with movement and pain. So in essence in some circumstances you might need to change the type of exercise you focus on altogether, while in other instances the exercise could be modified to facilitate your recovery from injury and not impede it. This will be up to the discretion of your physio or health practitioner. A good physio will try and keep you as active and doing as much of your everyday exercises and training within the confines that your injury recovery allows. After all, the priority at present is so the body can heal from injury.
A good example of this would be using machines in the gym if you have a shoulder injury where stability is not a key component of the exercise. We might also use the leg press and seated knee extension machines initially for someone with lower back pain while squatting or even give them box squats to limit their range of movement. That is until we can strengthen up their lower back and get them back to squatting to full depth.
Often, exercise, gym and training can be incorporated as part of your rehabilitation program. Exercise is the cornerstone in empowering clients and patients in taking charge of their rehab and conducting it independently putting them in the driver seat of their injury recovery process. The saying is: “exercise is medicine” and this rings true when it comes to proactive ways that clients can get to the other side of the hill in terms of their recovery.
Having said that, we shouldn’t avoid exercise or training forever and there should be some goal or timeline outlined where we can expect to return to our everyday exercise and training regime at our pre-injury levels. It would be wrong to say that we couldn’t do something forever, particularly something you love doing or that is a passion of yours. If you are unsure about when you might return to your chosen sport, gym, training or exercise routine speak to your physio and enquire about when this might occur.