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A return to physical fitness following an injury

Last week, we discussed the prospect of returning to work after an on-the-job injury. It's important, we said, to ensure you are ready physically to return to work and not to do too much too soon. The same premise is true when returning to physical activity following an injury, as you don't want to complicate the injury by returning to full exercise too quickly.

At the same time, a return to a previous exercise regime can be freeing. It helps you manage stress levels and can even make the recovery process faster and easier. Most experts recommend returning to physical fitness carefully and slowly after an extended period of recovery following surgery or treatment of injuries.

Begin with moderate activity that doesn't cause any pain. Most experts recommend starting with walking. How long, how fast and how far you walk depends heavily on how you feel and where you are in the recovery process, but you might want to work up to a brisk, 30-minute walk. Once you can achieve that, you will have reached a level of aerobic activity that is good for your heart.

You might also work in stretches, balance and strength activities. Always clear exercise through your medical providers first to ensure you won't be aggravating any symptoms associated with your injury or recovery. You'll also want to avoid re-injury via exercise, as that could make it difficult to continue with workers' compensation claims.

Once you are ready for more aggressive activity, build up slowly to your previous levels. Always pay attention to your body, and stop if you have pains or trouble continuing. As you go through physical and emotional recovery, continue to work with your workers' compensation lawyer to ensure your medical bills and expenses are covered appropriately until you are ready to return to work.

Source: Running Physio, "Returning to running after injury," Tom Goom, accessed Sep. 09, 2016

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