Suffering from a significant physical injury can be traumatic, primarily if it was incurred from an accident. However, your life does not need to stop because of an injury. You survived for a reason, and that is to continue living. Do not waste your new life feeling sorry for yourself and living unhealthily.
If you have just finished your TMJ treatment or physical therapy, congratulations. However, the road to a healthier you does not stop after your treatment. If you have been sedentary for a while after your injury, it might be time to get up and slowly work your body out. Getting fit and healthy can help you achieve full recovery much faster than sitting down all day long.
Get your doctor’s approval.
Before you jump into those training shoes and put on your training gear, seek the approval of your doctor. You must get professional advice on what activities are safe for you and which activities you should avoid. You might think and feel that you are ready, but your doctor might think otherwise.
You can also seek the advice of your chiropractor or physical therapist. They might have some suggestions on which exercises can help strengthen your injured muscles and help you recover fully. If you are still experiencing some swelling and pain, you should not rush yourself to get back on track. If you exert too much effort too soon, you might make your injury worse.
Prepare yourself mentally and physically.
Once you get the go signal, you might do some internal thinking yourself. What are you ready to do? What got you injured in the first place? Was it playing some sports, or were you doing an intense workout?
Know that most injuries are not permanent and for life. Sooner or later, you can still do the activities that you used to enjoy, whether it is rock climbing, boxing, or mountain biking. Think positively, and do not let your injury make you lose hope.
Do not push yourself too quickly.
You might be too excited to be back on track that you ran a straight 5-km without a thought. Your body might be used to running long distances before, but with an injury that has just healed, you should take it slowly. Being impatient will only make your injury worse and derail your healing.
Start with 50% or less of the intensity that you used to do before your injury. Do not go back to running immediately. You can start walking in your first week. In the second week, you can go walking interspersed with some running in between.
Be mindful of your body. Do you feel pain in the place of your injury? Do you feel nauseous after an activity? It is essential to observe how you feel after each activity to assess if you are truly ready for some physical exercise. Should you feel severe pain and discomfort, contact your doctor immediately.
Increase your pace gradually.
If you did not feel any pain and discomfort, then you can safely increase the intensity of your exercises. However, remember to increase your pace in small increments. You can increase exercise intensity by 5% in the second week, then 10% in the third week, so long as it is comfortable for your body.
Do not forget to do proper warm-up exercises and to cool down after your workout. Stretching will also help prepare and ready your body for some physical activity.
Ask for support if needed.
Of course, do not be shy to ask for help if you need one. Your physical therapist can give you a guided routine that you can do safely. You can also enroll in a post-therapy fitness program where a professional trainer can help and guide you. Your trainer will create an exclusive program for you, designed to build your strength while ensuring your full recovery. It is a safer option for many, especially those who did not have a physical fitness regimen before the injury.
Get the right gear for your safety and comfort.
The right gear will provide you not just comfort but the right support as well. If you are running, wearing the correct running shoes will ensure that your feet will get sufficient support every time it lands on the ground. Proper running shoes have enough padding to absorb the shock that your heel will otherwise absorb. Wearing incorrect shoes can lead to a foot injury and even hurt your existing injury.
Your physical therapist or trainer can help you with the right gear that will help keep you safe and comfortable while you work out.
Now is not the time to push your limits. You can have some breaks in between the days that you work out. Remember not to skip your doctor’s appointment so that you can check in with him on your progress and problems.