Why You Should Exercise Through Injury
So you’ve had an injury…
Firstly, I wish you a speedy recovery.
Secondly, I strongly suggest you continue reading this blog!
When an injury occurs, it causes a halt in training goals. However, this doesn’t mean you sit back for the next 4 weeks and kick your legs up.
Whilst we need to respect the healing time frames of the body, we also need to respect that the rest of your tissue (i.e. joints, muscles, bones) do not require the same amount of rest.
Our bodies have a certain level of tissue tolerance, which is the level of stress, load, or exercise that the body (or structures of the body) have adapted to.
If you completely rest during an injury, you are effectively reducing the tolerance of all the tissue in the body, not just the injured area.
When returning to exercise, the baseline of the body (as a whole) will be reduced, hence setting the athlete or individual up for further injury or suboptimal performance.
If training is ceased after an injury, over the first 2-4 weeks, the following physiological changes begin to occur.
- Reduction in max strength (after 4 weeks)
- Reduction in Vo2 max (after 2 weeks)
- Reduced blood volume, hence, increased HR (less efficient) (3 weeks)
- Reduced total cardiac output (3 weeks)
- Reduced capillary density and oxidative enzymes (reduction in efficiency of oxygen delivery)
The good news… all these changes are reversible! However, if we can maintain these systems throughout rehab, not only will it make the journey more seamless, but will produce a better athlete by the end of it.
At the end of the day, when undergoing rehab we have to find a balance between the healing processes that need to occur, whilst minimizing loss of neural, muscular and cardiovascular function.
Need an example of how to achieve this, check out the graph below!