When faced with an injury, it’s easy to give in to the temptation to give up and lie on the couch watching TV all day. Unfortunately, by the time that injury is healed, you could lose quite a bit of the fitness level you worked so hard to achieve in addition to possibly packing on unwanted pounds.
While it’s important to rest an injury, if it is only affecting one part of the body, it’s essential to participate in regular physical activity to maintain fitness levels. Consider one or more of these activities to keep you going until you can return to your preferred workouts.
For leg injuries, swimming or just running in water is one of the best ways to maintain fitness levels while eliminating the risk of high impact activity; the water provides almost risk-free resistance. Runners and just about any type of athlete can benefit from running in the water.
Run in the water just as you would on land, making sure to keep your posture upright. By incorporating intervals, such as running at an average pace for several minutes followed by running with a higher intense burst of energy for one minute, you’ll get a great workout.
While you probably won’t get the same experience as you would by running on trails through spectacular mountain scenery, you will get those feel-good endorphins. Endorphins are known for providing a great mood boost which can also help to speed healing while maintaining your fitness level.
Spinning is an excellent exercise for maintaining cardiovascular fitness while injured. Runners might even experience increased endurance by participating in this workout when returning to their regular routine.
For an optimal workout, your spinning sessions should be 1½ times that of your regular routine. For example, if you normally run for one hour, spin for 1½ hours. The absence of high impact on your body during spinning facilitates a quicker recovery, allowing you to work harder and longer than normal.
Some marathoners have found that by taking a break from running and switching to spinning periodically, they were able to shave several minutes off of a personal best when returning to the race.
Circuit training allows you to focus on larger muscles that haven’t been affected by injury. By building muscle, your metabolism will get a great boost, allowing the body to burn more calories while getting a cardiovascular and strength training workout all in one session. More muscle also provides a metabolism boost which means you’ll burn more calories even when you aren’t exercising.
Pilates is considered one of the best cross-training exercises around. Even when you aren’t injured, this is an activity that can be highly beneficial for athletes of all types. It serves to build core strength and increase flexibility; helping to prevent future injuries as well.
Practicing Pilates helps athletes and casual exercisers gain more control over their bodies, essentially making them less prone to injury. It also increases stamina and strengthens abdominal, pelvis and back muscles, giving runners and other athletes more endurance when returning to regular activity.