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How to stay active with an injury

Simple tips and techniques to keep you moving

Having an injury is never fun – and can be inconvenient. It can stop you doing the things you love, slow you down, and even alter your mood.

But you can stay active while injured, and hopefully get back on the road to recovery.

By prioritising your rehabilitation from injury, following advice on the correct treatment plan from your allied health professional and using the tips below, you can still reap all the benefits of daily activity while respecting your injury.

Set your goal and get moving

It’s important to think of exercise as simply moving or being active, even with an injury, and set a goal, such as “to do 30 mins of activity daily with an injury”. This mindset can take some stress off the need to ‘exercise’ or ‘work out’ and by regularly ‘moving’ for 30 minutes a day, you can achieve your recommended physical goals. It can even be as simple as moving in smaller blocks of time that total 30 minutes.

Block your way to 30 minutes a day

You’ll also need a plan to stay motivated and achieve your goal, and that’s where a strategy called ‘Blocking’ can be helpful. Blocking is where you put aside blocks of time and decide what you will do during each. Here’s what a simple blocking program might look like.

Block 1 – Home exercise program

The right treatment from your practitioner and home exercise can help speed up the healing process, get you back on your feet quicker and move you closer to doing more of the activity you love. Home exercise programs can usually take anywhere from five to 15 minutes each day, and this counts towards your goal.

  1. Do your home exercise program first thing in the morning. Let’s call this block of time ‘Morning Movement’ or make up a name that suits you and your personality.
  2. Get a space in your home ‘exercise ready’, set a reminder on your phone, print the exercises out, even tick off a chart.

This will help the injury recover and help you tick off some of those daily exercise minutes off the to-do list!

Block 2 – Daily Dose

Once your morning block of home exercise is done, it leaves the rest of the day to fit in your other physical activity. Include another short block of time during your day – you could name this your ‘Daily Dose’ and try to set aside one to two of these blocks each day for a walk or other light movement.

Walking is a wonderful way to help lubricate the knee, hip, or ankle joints. If you can walk, no matter how slow or fast:

  1. Give yourself the time you need and take a break if required.
  2. Take a partner, friend or child with you for extra motivation and accountability.

If you are unable to walk but can squat, try and set yourself some squat goals and do any number of squats (with proper technique!) three to five times a day.

If a squat is a strict ‘no no’, then try standing up from a chair without holding on – do this enough times and this is a workout in itself!

If you are unable to do any of the above, try lifting some light hand weights as a bicep curl a few times, or do some light gardening. These are all examples of ‘Daily Dose’ exercise blocks.

Block 3 – Ready to rest

When the day is almost done, and even if you have managed your 30 minutes, try to add this last block to your day – and your mind and body will thank you!

We know that physical activity improves sleep quality, so five to ten minutes in the late afternoon, evening or before bed will give your mind a chance to unwind and get your body ready to rest and reset. This is a great time to stretch anything that is feeling tight from the day’s duties, do more of your home exercise program, massage any tight spots with balls or rollers, and/or do some lovely mindful breathing.

You can go to bed smiling because you have completed your home exercise program (which will make your practitioner and your injury very happy), and you have done 30 minutes while respecting your injury. Oh, and you will have heaps more energy tomorrow!

Last updated: May 15, 2023 at: 5:51 pm