By Dodi Herk, B.S. Exercise Physiology
DHAC Assistant Fitness Director
Time and time again I am asked the same question, “I have _______ injury. Should I or shouldn’t I exercise? This could range from a new injury to chronic pain, but the question is always there. It’s a great question to ask. There are always a few answers that could change depending on the nature of your injury, but the one that always holds true is: Listen to your body!
As most of you know I recently ruptured my Achilles tendon and had surgery to repair it. I injured it playing volleyball. I’m telling you this because I did NOT listen to my body or friends and family. I had another injury that I had been dealing with on the other leg for a week before the volleyball tournament. I favored that leg the entire week and during the tournament. Some people suggested I not play or only for a few games. But I assumed I would be fine. “I’m an athlete,” I thought. “I’ve played injured many times. I work out regularly.”
I’m also an exercise physiologist who made the age old mistake of not listening to my body, and now I’m paying for it!
I work mainly in our $60/60days program and deal with all kinds of orthopedic or cardiac issues. My answer to anyone who asks should I or shouldn’t is: If it hurts don’t do it or lower the intensity. Most of the time, movement is exactly what the body needs to heal and recover. Blood flow to the injured area brings nutrients and vitamins to help in the healing process.
But you have to be smart about it. Over stressing an existing injury can result in more complications and longer recovery. Talk to your doctor, physical therapist or exercise physiologist for the best recommendations, and proper clearances prior to starting your healing or rehab regimen.
Don’t get frustrated and think you’re never going to get better. You will with patience and positive thinking.
I have never been injured to this degree before so this has been challenging for me. But I just keep telling myself it will get better. I finally practiced what I preach almost every day! I turned myself into a trainee instead of trainer, and it is exactly what I needed to do. Not only listen to my body but listen to what I would tell any of my clients! I do exactly what my physical therapist tells me and am faithful with my exercises. I improve every week and look forward to my first run on the road!
So if you are dealing with a new injury or a nagging old pain, take a deep breath and a spoonful of patience. You’ll get there, and when you do, you’ll be happy you listened to your body!