Anyone who has experienced a leg injury knows it can set their sports goals back several weeks or months. You may also think it will halt your workout routine in its tracks, but there are a few reasons it should not. Effective recovery from a leg injury will necessitate you adjusting your schedule, protecting your injury, and slowly easing back into your training.
Adjust Your Routine
Some injuries are more severe than others, but no matter your discipline, you will need to adjust your workout. A relative resting strategy allows you to maintain your fitness level while at the same time avoiding the use of your injured leg. Depending on your strength, you can learn to use a stationary bike or rowing machine with one leg. These work best for ankle or foot injuries. For certain injuries, swimming may be an option as it places no weight-bearing stress on the legs. You can use pull buoys to prevent kicking your legs. Another option is circuit training utilizing weights and other exercises to strengthen and maintain your core. With upper leg and knee injuries, you may be able to engage in handcycle exercises or one-legged cycling to maintain cardiac fitness. You must find a way to keep working out because it helps you maintain a positive outlook, which is vital to all recovery. It also helps you keep muscle tone and circulation, key elements in healing. Finally, staying in shape can prevent additional injuries.
Protect the Injury
Once you receive medical advice and treatment, rest is the single most important thing you can do to accomplish effective recovery from a leg injury. If your injury requires crutches, then use them! It is common in your angst to jump back into the competitive scene or return to your fitness goals to start using your injured leg too soon. Using your leg before it is fully healed is one of the worst things you can do for recovery. You can easily aggravate your injury, prolong healing, or worst of all, earn yourself a trip to snap city. Protecting your injury is more important than any conditioning goals. You will retain the majority of your fitness level for four to six months.
Ease into Exercise
Once your doctor or therapist clears you to return to workouts, you do not want to spring into action as if nothing ever happened. Even with minor injuries, ease slowly back into your routine. Swelling and pain should be minimal before you even think of starting. Consider what caused your original injury and plan some preventative measures. Health experts recommend if you have been out of commission for a while to start back at 40 to 50 percent of the intensity and duration you were doing before the injury. Increase by only 10 to 15 percent each week and stop altogether if you feel pain. Warm up before your workout, stretch a lot, and cool down when you are finished.
A leg injury can wreak havoc on your workout routine as well as your emotional and mental states. You can enhance recovery effectiveness by temporarily adjusting your exercises, protecting your injury, and starting back into your regular intensity gradually.
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