Almost every athlete in every discipline will experience an injury at some point. Whether you are a crossfitter or a powerlifter, a marathon runner or a gymnast, there is a likelihood that the physical stress of training and competing will mean you develop an injury that isn’t easy to bounce back from.
However, exercise rehabilitation isn’t reserved solely for competitive athletes or sports people – it is something that experienced Personal Trainers encounter every day, ensuring clients can restore full function to damaged muscles or ligaments and understand the exercises that will help develop resilience against future injuries without causing harm.
Here, I’ll explain how exercise rehabilitation plans work, why healthcare professionals commonly recommend them, and why restoring muscle strength can set you on the path to recovery far more quickly than staying immobile at home.
What Is Exercise Rehabilitation?
According to numerous research methods, the temptation of prolonged immobilisation following an injury can be seriously detrimental – whereas strengthening exercises and treatment plans can make a marked improvement in the pace at which you can return to sport or training.
Commonly prescribed for active people who experience an injury, exercise rehabilitation isn’t about getting back to the gym before you are ready but ensuring you have the skills, foundation and strength to do so when you feel able.
It is normal to experience challenges post-injury, such as having limited mobility or a restricted range of motion. Left unchecked, the long-term prospects may mean that a sprained ankle, broken arm or fractured wrist has lifelong repercussions.
As any experienced, qualified personal trainer will tell you, that doesn’t need to be the case.
Exercise rehabilitation is grounded in science and means that anybody from a senior person to a college sports player can access the support and knowledge they need to recover from an injury of any severity. Rehabilitation exercises focus on functional movement, baseline strength and movements that help your muscles heal, recover and regain their normal actions while supporting holistic healing.
Rather than something painful to be endured, I’d hasten to add that exercise rehabilitation following any musculoskeletal injury is more therapeutic; it can help keep you pain-free and flexible rather than exacerbating the soreness that an injury may have caused.
Why Hire a Personal Trainer to Provide Exercise Rehabilitation?
I’ve briefly mentioned the broad range of applications for exercise rehabilitation, whether establishing beneficial movement patterns for London marathon runners, recovery plans for weightlifters, and custom recovery strategies for everyday gym goers who find themselves locked out of their usual routines due to prolonged injuries.
The guiding principle is to improve proprioception – this is an in-depth knowledge area about how the mind-to-muscle connection works and how movements and actions influence your experience of muscular effort and force.
Before recommending any exercise interventions, any professional you hire throughout the fitness industry must conduct a full assessment of your injuries and condition, crafting a tailored plan based on human movement principles and any pain or discomfort you may be experiencing.
One-on-one guidance is an integral part of injury prevention, where the management of injuries should be carefully appraised and monitored to verify that your exercise rehabilitation environment is beneficial and contributes to a more comprehensive recovery process.
While the cliché of ‘use it or lose it’ doesn’t necessarily apply to all exercise rehabilitation processes, it does simplify the concept. If you do not engage with rehabilitative exercises when you can, you may find that healing takes longer than necessary, or you may suffer greater setbacks when you decide to return.
Exercise rehabilitation is never based on pressuring injured limbs or muscles to the point of risk – but forgoing injuries and reducing your lifelong injury risk by unpicking the deficiencies or weaknesses that have caused the injury and putting a solid foundation in place to prevent a similar injury from occurring.
Is Exercise Rehabilitation the Right Option for Me?
If you’re asking the question, the answer is very likely to be yes – after an acute injury, athletes of any ability can benefit from the knowledge and expertise a fitness specialist can offer. Ideally, a progressive rehabilitation plan should begin as soon as possible when you are ready to resume light physical activity.
However, I’d always recommend seeking professional advice from a trainer experienced in sports medicine who can create a tailored treatment plan to avoid any potential for re-injury. That might include:
- Initial gentle active movement, ensuring blood flow to the injured area is sustained, helping damaged joints or muscles recover faster.
- Various exercises that introduce controlled load to the limb, bone or muscle to help restore muscle strength and ensure ligaments and tendons restore full function.
- Therapies such as sports massage and defined stretches that can supplement your sports rehabilitation process.
Importantly, all rehabilitation exercises should be 100% pain-free – recovery isn’t about inflicting pain on an injured area but treating injuries in a slow, progressive and managed way, applying an understanding of the scientific principles behind sport and exercise rehab.
Choosing a Qualified, Experienced Personal Trainer to Assist With Exercise Rehabilitation
It is often daunting to think about returning to the gym following an injury, with concerns about whether rehabilitation exercise will prove beneficial or worrying that chronic injuries will crop up again. As always, the starting point must be a full assessment of your injury and health before any trainer suggests an exercise rehabilitation plan.
Certified, experienced trainers like myself have worked with thousands of clients looking to regain marathon fitness levels, expedite recovery from a sprain or break, or find a safe way to return to their normal fitness routine without risking re-injury.
A properly planned injury prevention plan is a great way to gain control of sports injuries, with multiple benefits to properly supervised rehabilitation exercise methods:
- Quicker, pain-free recovery.
- Improved muscle strength and stamina.
- Better confidence and assurance.
- Augmented balance and mobility function.
If you’d like to learn more about exercise rehabilitation, dealing with ongoing injuries such as knee and back pain, recovering from an injury with hypermobility or the best approaches to ensure you can restore movement without risk of further injury, please get in touch with this Chichester Personal Trainer.