Unfortunately, no matter how committed you are to caring for your body, setbacks sometimes occur. Finding yourself sidelined for weeks — even months — and not being able to work out or compete at the level you were accustomed to can be a big blow to your self-confidence.
Then, once you feel ready to resume activity, it can be tempting to jump back in with both feet, hit the ground running, and try to make up for lost time. We understand! However, in order to avoid re-injury and keep your positive momentum going, it’s important to take a mindful approach to your big comeback.
Follow these tips, courtesy of Kennedy Fitness: A Jefferson Health Affiliate, and you might just end up feeling and performing better than you did before you got hurt.
Talk to Your Doctor
First and foremost, make sure you are medically cleared to return to activity. If so, what activities do your doctor or physical therapist approve and/or recommend as a starting point? Have an honest discussion with them. Ask their advice. Write it down. Then, follow it.
Get Your Mind Right
Set realistic expectations and goals for yourself as you get back into the groove, and remain patient with the progress you make. Depending on the severity of your injury, it could take a while before you’re back to performing your best. Also, if there was anything lacking in your training prior to getting injured — not enough sleep, not enough stretching or warming up, not enough work on flexibility or core strength, etc. — decide how you’re going to do things differently this time around so you can avoid the same outcome.
Launching right back into 10-mile runs, maxing out on lifts in the weight room, or doing multiple workouts a day might not be the best approach if you’ve been on the shelf for a while. As they say, you’ve got to crawl before you can walk. This is where your doctor, physical therapist, or personal trainer can help in setting a structured plan for the first week or weeks of your return to activity.
Try New Things
Maybe you’re not ready to pound the pavement in a long-distance road race or sprint and cut around a basketball court just yet, but there’s plenty you can do for a great workout that won’t stress out — or re-injure — your still-recovering body. We’ve listed a few examples of great low-impact exercises you can try in this slideshow video.