Sarah Maxwell explains how all is not lost if you pick up an exercise injury

You finally manage to get into exercising regularly – cycling, running, walking, exercise classes, or whatever – and it’s all going well until you injure yourself gardening or just putting your seat belt on!

An injury throws a real spanner in the works, disrupting your exercise regime which can be really frustrating. Here I’ve put together some commonly asked questions and advice to help you get back up and running. 

How long should I wait until I can get back to the activity I enjoy and have worked so hard to maintain?

There isn’t a one-size-fits-all answer to this question. The amount of time you should wait to exercise after an injury is directly related to the type of injury you have. I would always advise that you see a physiotherapist (especially if it’s more than a minor injury).

For example, if you sprain your ankle, without the correct rehabilitation you will be more susceptible to the same injury in the future due to weakness – and it’s likely that each time you do it, the injury becomes more serious.

Regardless of the severity of the sprain, you will have some loss of motion and this causes changes in the way you walk. Your bottom muscles (glutes) will switch off and this effect can cause back/knee pain (you know my obsession about glute activation!).

An injury to any part of your body will affect other areas. This is often overlooked and can lead to long term problems which will impact on your training in the future.

If you’re serious about your fitness, this is a very important factor that should be taken into consideration if you plan on progressing.

How do I keep motivated when I’m injured? An injury can quickly demotivate and it can be a real struggle to move forward and get back to your usual routine.

1. Get advice from a physiotherapist (Especially if you’re a committed exerciser). It’s far better to recover properly than try to dive back in as quickly as possible, and risk a more serious injury as a consequence.

Stick to your routine as much as possible. If you normally exercise at a certain time, still exercise then but focus on a different part of your body.

Get outside. When you’re unable to continue with your usual routine it can be very frustrating, demotivating and your mood can be affected greatly. Getting some fresh air and filling your lungs up with oxygen is a surefire way to boost your mood as well as keeping your body moving and in turn healing quicker.

If you’re able, go for a walk instead of your usual run or do a simple stretch and breathe sequence. The great outdoors is a wonder drug and will help keep you motivated and assist with recovery, not to mention the huge benefits you will get from the increase in Vitamin D.

Keep up the weight training, if your injury allows. If you haven’t tried lifting weights, this is a great opportunity to start. Not only will it increase your strength, it will also boost your metabolism and turn you into a fat burning furnace.

Good nutrition. Because you won’t be moving as much as usual, you might want to adjust your calorie intake. That isn’t to say you need to change anything drastically – after all, reducing and cutting out essential elements in your diet can hinder the body’s ability to heal itself. When you’re ready, make sure to take it SLOW and listen carefully to your body! Freedom time at last (fingers crossed!) so go out and enjoy to the max!

Sarah Maxwell is a multiple award-winning Fitness and Lifestyle coach and mum of two who juggles a lot of balls. Find out more about Sarah and her work at Sarah shares her Fitness and Lifestyle tips on Instagram @sarahmaxwelllifestyle

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