By Pamela Hernandez
Whether it comes from a workout or simply stepping off the curb the wrong way, a lower body injury is bound to occur at some point or another in our athletic lives. Injury, of any kind, can be extremely frustrating. Some injuries can be mild, like an ankle sprain, and simply require a few days of rest. Others, like a broken foot, can mean weeks off your feet.
Our bodies feel the effects of not working out very quickly. While your body does need extra nutrients to heal, it’s often not as many as you burn with your workout. Energy goes down and we can feel more “jiggly” and less strong. When we’re sidelined we can also feel the effects mentally, not only losing the post workout endorphin rush but also a part of our routine and identity.
The good news is, unless specifically forbidden by your doctor, there are exercises and activities you can do to keep working without aggravating conditions such as plantar fasciitis or a sprained ankle. The following exercises are my top picks for those fighting a lower body injury. Just remember, when healing especially, rest is important, too. Take your intensity and frequency down a bit until your body is ready to take on more.
Boxing/punches: Boxers are in great shape not just from jumping rope but also from all that punching. You can sit on a stability ball if you need to be completely off your feet and alternate different punches (jab/cross, upper cuts and hooks) with light dumbbells or hit the bag if you’re allowed to put some weight on your feet.
Swimming: Water makes for a great no impact workout. Use a water running belt or floatation device if you’re not a strong swimmer. This can be a useful too for former runners who can no longer pound the pavement due to knee injury or arthritis.
Battle Ropes: Ropes are a simple but extremely effective tool. They can be used by people of all ages and abilities. Different exercises with varying amplitude and frequency can provide a challenging workout for anyone, even in a seated position.
Chin Ups/Assisted Chin Ups: Chin ups are a great overall upper body exercise. If you’re not strong enough to do them on your own, do a machine assisted chin up.
Medicine Ball Slams: Slams and throws are great all over power exercises that don’t involve squatting or lunging. If you can be on your feet, grab a bounceable medicine ball. Hold it high over head and throw it down with all of your weight behind it. Catch and repeat for desired amount of time or repetitions.
Don’t let injury be an excuse to let go of your fit lifestyle. Listen to your doctor, listen to your body, and modify as necessary. And don’t forget – no matter the injury you can always stay focused on a clean diet!