Recovering and getting back in shape while suffering a disability or injury is a long process. Some patients find it stressful, as they are itching so much to move again and become fit. Even if you feel pumped up to return to your sport or job in full force, that is not really a wise idea. Your recovery and comeback game-plan may take a few steps before you get there.
The most important thing in recovery from a disability is being careful with yourself. Any disabled or injured person must take necessary precautions before engaging in any workout.
To get back in shape successfully while dealing with a disability, it is best to consult your physician regarding your fitness plans. Your physician can tell you if the workout you want to try is safe for your disability or injury. Likewise, he/she can give you some exercise recommendations for your specific disability.
Meanwhile, here are four tips to help you get back in shape while recovering from an injury or living with a disability.
- Get approval from your doctor and your therapist.
Are you sure you are ready to engage in physical activities with a disability? You may think that but it is vital to consult with your physician before putting on your sneakers and heading out for a five mile walk.
- Ask your therapist: If a sports medicine professional or physical therapist is helping you recover, it is very important to get their approval. They should be able to give you specific moves to help stretch and strengthen your disabled or injured area.
- Wait until the pain has improved: Do not go back to your activity or sport until the stiffness, pain, and swelling have improved. Your injuries will only get worse or delay your recovery process further if you push yourself too soon without an expert’s approval.
- Prepare yourself mentally.
Spend some time thinking about what led to your injury and if there is something you can do to prevent another disability. There is always a lesson you can learn from an injury or disability, even if you didn’t cause it.
This phase requires you to stay positive. Remember that most disabilities are temporary, so keep reminding yourself that you will cross that bridge and return to your favorite sport, job or activity. Regaining your speed and strength may take some time but you will surely get there.
- Take it slow.
Star athletes who struggle with injuries or disabilities are very eager to get back to their previous fitness level. However, they must be patient.
The general rule for exercising safely during your recovery is to start exercising around 50 percent of your accustomed or normal level. Then, gradually increase that percentage by 15 percent every week. Be wary of any symptoms or flare-ups of your injury or disability, as they should not show up during or after a workout.
- Eat a healthy diet.
A healthy diet offers plenty of benefits to your body. Consume vitamins and minerals your body requires to stay healthy and easily recover from your disabilities. Some healthy foods to get back in shape and help with your recovery include:
- Foods rich in protein such as chicken, eggs, and beef
- Foods rich in antioxidants including blueberries, prunes and coffee
- Oysters, seeds, nuts and other zinc-rich foods
- Salmon, walnuts, flax seeds and other foods rich in omega-3
- Foods rich in vitamin A, such as sweet potatoes, spinach and carrots
- Peppers, broccoli, kiwi, and other fruits and vegetables rich in vitamin C
Take the Steps to Get Back into Shape
So there you have it. These are key steps you can take to get back in shape when struggling with a disability or injury. It can be tricky at first, but if you have you have the approval of your therapist or doctor, get mentally prepared, take it slow, and eat the right food. Then, you can get to a full recovery sooner than you think.