Up to 70 percent of runners will experience an injury at some point, according to recent estimates. When you are sidelined due to an injury, it can be devastating to both mentally and physically. Not being able to continue your typical workout regimen can weaken the muscles that you have spent months developing.
Here are five tips for how to stay fit during an injury:
- Focus on non-injured muscles. While most runners are guilty of building up lower body strength, there are other muscle groups to focus on. If you are not able to run due to a leg injury, focus on exercising your arms, shoulders or abdominal muscles. Many strengthening exercises do not require use of your legs. Because of this, you can create a solid workout program to get your sweat on without negatively impacting your muscle recovery.
- Control your eating. If you are sidelined due to an injury, modify your diet appropriately. Running burns a number of calories and without it, you can easily gain a few pounds. Focus on eating when you are hungry and eating non-processed foods. This will help ensure that when you return to exercise, you won't have to work to get back in shape first.
- Follow your recovery program. After consulting a physical therapist regarding your injury, they will provide a recovery program and specifications for strengthening and rehabilitating the injured area. Make sure you are following your health professional's recommendations. This will ensure that you are able to heal your injury on the planned timeline and will be able to return to running faster.
- Hit the pool. Swimming is a non-weight bearing exercise, which makes it great for when your leg muscles are injured. Like running, it also gets your heart pumping and keeps your cardio fitness high. If you do not feel pain while exercising in the pool, you can do a number of exercises like pool running or scissor kicks.
- Spend time resting. To help your injury recover, rest is important. For your non-injured muscles, this will give them a much needed break. While this may not be an obvious tip for staying fit during an injury, it will help you keep your muscles fresh.
Lora Mays is an avid runner who has been running for more than 15 years. In this time, she has found a love for marathons and plans to run her 15th and 16th this spring. When she isn't running, she is blogging about it at Crazy Running Girl.