Workout with injury or disability

Is it possible to workout with an injury or disability?

workout with disability 2As we age we tend to be a little more prone to injury in both everyday life activities as well as in our exercise routines. Whether you are temporarily side-lined or have a permanent disability, don’t let that be an excuse to give up on staying fit.  Your body needs it’s strength to compensate for the injury and exercise can reduce stress, increase energy, and improve fatigue. Finding the right moves for your personal situation is the key. Here are some suggestions on how to avoid injury as well as how to stay active while you are recovering from one.

Note: before starting any exercise program, check with your doctor or therapist to make sure you are able to perform the moves without risk of further damage.

Tips for preventing injuries:

  • Always warm-up and cool-down – your muscles need the extra time to prepare for the stress of the workout and you can reduce soreness if you give them a chance to stretch while they’re warm at the end of your routine
  • Know your age and limits – if you are a weekend warrior or former athlete, it is really hard to get your head to understand that after 40, your body is not able to do what it did as easily as in your 20s – and almost everyone thinks they’re in better shape than they really are!
  • Hire an expert – getting some help from a personal trainer to ensure you are using equipment correctly and using good form will prevent strain or injury
  • Listen to your body and know when to ease up, slow down, or take a break – if you exercise to the point of pain or poor form – you are at a higher risk for injury and will set yourself up for an extended period of no exercise while you recover

If you do get injured, this is the basic formula to keep your injury from getting worse:

• R: rest the injury
• I: ice the injury to lessen swelling, bleeding, and inflammation
• C: apply a compression bandage to minimize swelling
• E: elevate the injury to reduce swelling

Most minor injuries will heal with rest in a few weeks, but you should avoid the exercise that caused the injury for a while – don’t put additional stress on the injured body part, and follow up with your doctor if you continue to have problems

What CAN you do to stay fit while injured or disabled?

workout with injury coverTwisted ankle? Take the stress off the lower body with swimming or stationary bike – also increase your upper body routines


workout with injuryBack pain? Try low impact moves such as yoga, swimming, Pilates, stretching, easy walking, or recumbent bike.  Pay attention to your feet and wear shoes to absorb shock or high-impact.

Shoulder injury like rotator cuff? Obviously avoid moves or sports that further aggravate with repetitive movements (i.e. golf, tennis, overhead presses) – try front shoulder raise, planks on your forearms, not your hands, and focus more on lower body exercises like squats, walking, jogging, or cycling

Check out this video for a seated cardio routine that can be done if you are in a wheelchair, on crutches, or have any form of lower body injury or disability:

Waiting for an injury to heal or living with a disability can be challenging enough to just get through your day, but with a little creativity, guidance, and perseverance – you can live a fitter, healthier, and less stressful life!



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