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Physical activity is something we hear is an important aspect of a healthy life, and the research strongly supports this point. Unfortunately, one of the risks of an active lifestyle is injury. Whether it is an injury that happens quickly because of an accident or one that occurs over time because of of age or overuse, injury often forces us to put physical activity on the back burner. The good news is that with some internet browsing and a little ingenuity, most injuries will not stop you from maintaining your active lifestyle.
Recently I took a trip to Georgia for work and one of the first things I came across was a 4 mile long clay running path. Initially, I was very excited because the track was close to where I was staying. Unfortunately, after utilizing the track for nearly two weeks, I began to develop shin splints. After taking a week off from running, I was fed up with the lack of cardio in my life, so I began to bike or swim in place of the running. This routine continued for about six weeks until I was comfortable enough to attempt the impact of running again. I slowly progressed into greater distances and intensity until I was back to where I wanted to be.
I use this personal story as an example of getting around an injury to maintain physical activity. Similar activities can be used for injuries like minor ankle sprains, runner’s knee or stress fractures. The same thought process can be used for injuries to other body parts. I had a soldier a few years ago who suffered a sprained wrist after a fall. The soldier was adamant about continuing a workout routine that included many forms of pushups. Unfortunately, with the wrist sprain, pushups were extremely painful. We put our heads together and found that if using pushup bars or performing pushups on fists did not result in pain or discomfort. The soldier was ecstatic to be able to resume a regimen and to heal at the same time.
I have had athletes doing core calisthenics while wearing a boot or an elbow immobilizer. If they cannot use their foot, I have them use their arms and core. If they cannot use their arm, then they will be activating their legs and core. If they have abdominal injuries, then we can work on their extremities. There are many fun and effective exercises to do while protecting and recovering from injuries. Just make sure you review these activities with your physician before trying something too demanding!