No one likes being sidelined by an injury, but it’s an unfortunate reality for many athletes. Whether it’s a nagging Achilles tendon or a more severe ACL tear, an injury can significantly damper your fitness goals. But just because you’re injured doesn’t mean you have to sit on the sidelines entirely.
The good news is that you can take steps to ensure a speedy recovery. In particular, active recovery—a workout regimen specifically designed to aid in the healing process—can help your body repair itself more quickly and effectively. Active recovery—meaning low-intensity exercise combined with stretching and other treatments—can help you heal faster and get back to your pre-injury self even stronger. Here’s how:
How Active Recovery Works
The first step in any active recovery program is to consult with a medical professional to get clearance for exercise. Once you’ve been given the go-ahead, the next step is to design a workout routine that considers your injury. For example, if you’re dealing with an ankle sprain, your program might focus on exercises that don’t stress that area of your body. The goal is to keep your heart rate up without exacerbating your injury.
Active recovery workouts are typically shorter and lower intensity than traditional workouts; in fact, they shouldn’t feel like “workouts” at all. Instead, they should be easy enough that you can carry on a conversation while doing them. This might sound like a recipe for bored athletes looking to take it easy, but active recovery sessions can be pretty enjoyable—and they’re vital in helping you bounce back from an injury more quickly.
Benefits of Active Recovery
There are many benefits to incorporating active recovery into your post-injury routine. In addition to speeding up the healing process, functional recovery can help reduce stiffness and swelling, improve range of motion, and prevent scar tissue formation. And because active recovery helps flush lactic acid out of your muscles, it also reduces pain and soreness—allowing you to stay comfortable as you heal.
Helps with Circulation
One of the benefits of active recovery is that it helps improve circulation. When you’re injured, your blood flow slows down as your body diverts its energy to the healing process. This can lead to stiffness, cramping, and even further injury. Active recovery helps by getting your blood flowing and delivering fresh oxygen to the affected area, which speeds up the healing process.
Alleviates Pain and Inflammation
In addition to helping with circulation, active recovery can also help reduce pain and inflammation. Low-intensity exercise releases endorphins, hormones that block pain signals from reaching the brain. Exercise also helps reduce inflammation by flushing out immune cells and other inflammatory agents through your lymphatic system. Reduced pain and inflammation mean you’ll be able to move around better and start rehabilitating your injury sooner.
Increases Joint Lubrication
Joints rely on a substance called synovial fluid for lubrication and shock absorption. When you’re injured, this fluid can become thick and sticky, making it difficult to move the joint. Active recovery helps increase synovial fluid production, giving you back the range of motion you need to start rehabilitation exercises and get back to your regular workout routine.
Active recovery is worth considering if you’re looking for a way to speed up your recovery from an injury. This type of workout regimen is specifically designed to help your body heal more quickly and effectively—and it comes with a host of other benefits. So if you’re injured, don’t despair—active recovery can help you heal faster and get back to your pre-injury self even stronger.
If you’re an athlete or fitness-conscious person, Continuum has a packed facility for helping you recover right here in Victoria, BC. If you are looking for assistance and coaching, check us out!