Sprouts n Squats

How to return to exercise after injury

Since breaking my wrist and getting my cast off, I’ve been slowly but surely getting back into my usual exercise routine.

Here’s what I’ve learnt about how to return to exercise after injury:

(from this injury and previous injuries I’ve had).

1. Start slowly


As tempting as it is to jump right in and go back to what you were doing before you were injured you need to start slow. If you go too quickly you can risk re injury and also risk your own motivation by trying to do too much too quickly.

I’ve been aiming to build back up to 6 workouts a week but so far I’ve been doing on average 4 and I’m ok with that.

2. Focus on what you can do


If you focus on what you can’t do instead of what you can do you may end up doing nothing.

At the moment although I no longer have my cast on my wrist is too weak to use a barbell and do heavy weights. Instead I’m focussed on building back up my running fitness and doing lighter weights because that’s what I can do.

3. Have fun with it

Exercise pictures (2)

For exercise motivation to stick for me I’m always trying to think of ways to have more fun with it. Whether its getting new music for my playlist, trying a new routine or form of exercise or just forcing others to exercise with you – I make Nick go on walks with me all the time, lucky guy ;)

4. Be patient


Similar to starting slowly you’ve got to be patient with your own strength and fitness when starting back. I know my first run back and even the other runs I’ve done since then have not felt one bit easy. I’ve been running 4km and feeling like I’m going to die and it has seemed sometimes like someone else must have run that half marathon last year instead of me. However I know that just like any other progress when it comes to fitness you’ve got to be patient.

5. Use your injury as motivation


Getting injured and being very limited in what I could do has made me appreciate so much more what I now can do again. I’m also using it as my motivation to eventually come back stronger than ever.

How have you come back to exercise after an injury or set back?

How was your weekend?


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  • Posted April 28, 2014 at 3:51 am | Permalink

    I’m glad you’re getting back into the swing of things! I can’t imagine how tough it is to go back to exercise after an injury and build your way back up. My mom is really fit and she had a really bad accident a few years ago where she broke her foot and ankle and had metal rods placed in both. She was in various casts for about 3 1/2 months even before getting a boot, then there was the months of physical therapy afterwards and she still has problems every now and then. I’m really grateful that I’ve never been seriously injured because I saw how hard it was for her and other people I know. I definitely don’t take my health for granted anymore! Have a great week, Jan!
    Alex @ Kenzie Life recently posted…Finals PauseMy Profile

    • Jan @ Sprouts n Squats
      Posted April 29, 2014 at 11:46 am | Permalink

      Thanks lady :)

      Not good about your mum and still having issues with it even now. Sounds like it was a very bad break indeed to have had metal rods.

      I hope you have a great week too and good luck with the exam study <3

  • Posted April 28, 2014 at 7:37 am | Permalink

    Coming from someone who’s had a billion and one injuries (stress fractures, shin splints, knee issues… the list goes on), there’s nothing more frustrating than a setback when you feel you’re finally in a good groove with working out!

    With my stress fracture I was only able to do spinning and upper body work for 3 months, and it almost killed me.

    I find what I struggle with most coming back from an injury, is trusting that my body has healed! I’m the opposite in that I don’t ever rush back into things, in fact, I’m super cautious and scared to do anything :P
    I’m still getting over my fear of running, which has caused most of my injuries! I’m doing that by aiming to run the City2Surf in August or the Blackmore’s Run in September :)

    Glad you’re back into it and doing it the right way!
    Kloe @ Running Shoes & Chocolate Mousse recently posted…A Girl Can Dream: Top 5 Luxury Health & Fitness Holidays.My Profile

    • Jan @ Sprouts n Squats
      Posted April 29, 2014 at 11:48 am | Permalink

      Oh gosh you have had a few, sounds like you definitely feel my pain with them!

      It is definitely good to be extra cautious rather than go too fast with getting back into things. I’ve done the City to Sea in Melbourne but one day I might do the City to surf too :)

  • Posted April 28, 2014 at 7:48 am | Permalink

    You have such a positive attitude, Jan! I’m not coming off an injury, but it’s even hard coming back after being sick for so long. Combine that with traveling this next week for work and I’m going to feel out of the game by the time I get back at it. It’s always best to take it slow like you said – no use in risking a second injury and it’s good to give your body time to reacclimmate to fitness.
    Becky @ Olives n Wine recently posted…Nachos, fondue, body pump and other weekend fun!My Profile

    • Jan @ Sprouts n Squats
      Posted April 29, 2014 at 11:49 am | Permalink

      Travelling for work I definitely find it hard to fit in exercise because usually so much extra time is taken up with travel and it just makes you plain tired too. So I feel your pain!

  • Posted April 28, 2014 at 10:38 am | Permalink

    Yes to all of these! Definitely starting slow and doing what you can. There are things I want to do (like lift heavier weights) but I’m listening to my body and doing what I can and assuring myself that it’s temporary. You will definitely be back to your normal routine in time!!
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    • Jan @ Sprouts n Squats
      Posted April 29, 2014 at 11:49 am | Permalink

      Definitely good to listen to your body – as tempting as it is sometimes to want to push through it. Better to be cautious I say than risk re-injury :)

  • Posted April 28, 2014 at 10:47 am | Permalink

    Way to be positive about your situation friend! Injuries are not fun, but you are making the most of what you have, and have come up with a great list here :) You will bounce back in no time, and yes, using injury as motivation really helps. I always did that when I was stuck pool running, and I always came back faster and stronger than ever. It will take a while, but will then suddenly click :)
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    • Jan @ Sprouts n Squats
      Posted April 29, 2014 at 11:50 am | Permalink

      Thanks lady :)

      That is what I’m counting down the days for when I have my first ‘click’ moment ;)

  • Posted April 28, 2014 at 11:33 am | Permalink

    I have been pretty fortunate – other than bunch of stitches that only leave scars, I haven’t really sprained or broken anything -yet! My daughter sprained her foot during a soccer game too and had to stay on crutches for 2 weeks, it took her awhile to get back to running – she isn’t still at her regular pace-but is working on it.
    “If you focus on what you can’t do instead of what you can do you may end up doing nothing” -love love love this!
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    • Jan @ Sprouts n Squats
      Posted April 29, 2014 at 11:51 am | Permalink

      Thanks lady for your kind words as always.

      Not good about your daughters foot, hopefully it gets 100% better soon.

  • Posted April 28, 2014 at 4:05 pm | Permalink

    Sounds like you are staying positive, and listening to your own tips. I think patience and starting slow can be the hardest two to be honest. It’s not just physically, it can also be quite hard mentally!
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    • Jan @ Sprouts n Squats
      Posted April 29, 2014 at 11:51 am | Permalink

      I so agree, I think injury recovery is definitely a lot more mental than anything else. Thanks again for sharing too.

  • Posted April 28, 2014 at 10:42 pm | Permalink

    Love this Jan!! One step at a time… The good time about the fitness journey is that is personal, and that you will make it back at your own pace, without injuring yourself! Keep enjoying the ride, muscles have memories so soon enough you’ll be even better than you were before. As you said don’t rush it!
    Jess @ dearhealthyness recently posted…Wait… What do you eat?My Profile

    • Jan @ Sprouts n Squats
      Posted April 29, 2014 at 11:52 am | Permalink

      So true about the journey being personal. You can’t compare your journey to others when you may be at step 4 and they are at step 20.

  • Posted April 28, 2014 at 11:59 pm | Permalink

    I’ve been pretty fortunate that I haven’t had any major injuries recently, but these are great tips, Jan!
    Liz @ I Heart Vegetables recently posted…A Bachelorette WeekendMy Profile

    • Jan @ Sprouts n Squats
      Posted April 29, 2014 at 11:52 am | Permalink

      Glad to hear you haven’t had to deal with any bad injuries. I’m hoping it is my last bad one for a while.

  • Posted April 29, 2014 at 12:08 am | Permalink

    Great post, Jan! Having been injured twice now, I agree with all of these tips. Having an injury made me more creative with my workouts and made me do a lot more bodybuilding-style workouts, which was a good change up!
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    • Jan @ Sprouts n Squats
      Posted April 29, 2014 at 11:53 am | Permalink

      Thanks Tara :)

      I’m enjoying mixing my workouts up a bit as well as changing my focus for a little while until I’m back to full strength.

  • Posted April 29, 2014 at 12:35 am | Permalink

    Haha when I saw that Willy Wonka picture I couldn’t help but sing that song. Don’t care how, I want it now!

    I’m glad your back in action! It’s really good that you know that you must pace yourself!
    Ashley @ Kick Ash Mom.com recently posted…Easter Post and Running While PregnantMy Profile

    • Jan @ Sprouts n Squats
      Posted April 29, 2014 at 11:54 am | Permalink

      Hehe I could sing it all day ;)

      Thanks lady! Yes I’ve learnt from past injuries that doing too much too fast is not a good idea.

  • Posted April 29, 2014 at 12:36 am | Permalink

    Coming back from an injury is so hard, I’m always stuck between that place of fear of pushing myself and fear of injury. You’re right to start small and have patience although I’m bad at both! Good luck with your recovery and getting back into the swing of things :)
    Ursula recently posted…Weekly Wishes #5My Profile

    • Jan @ Sprouts n Squats
      Posted April 29, 2014 at 11:54 am | Permalink

      Yes I totally agree! You want to push harder because you haven’t been able to before but you’ve got to be careful too.

      Thanks for your kind words ;)

  • Posted April 29, 2014 at 2:34 am | Permalink

    Love the Ashe quote! That’s really all you can do when starting or getting back into anything, but especially exercise. I’ve never experienced a major injury but did stop exercising for a few months due to some hormonal problems. When I started back up, I could barely do a full pushup and so did how many of those I could and then switched to modified until I built my strength back up.
    Jaclyn @ BumpSweat recently posted…Motivation Monday: Healthy Make-Ahead Breakfasts Made EasyMy Profile

    • Jan @ Sprouts n Squats
      Posted April 29, 2014 at 11:55 am | Permalink

      Thanks Jaclyn :)

      Good to hear you’ve not experienced anything major but I know time off exercise for any reason can make coming back to it not the easiest thing to do.

  • Posted April 29, 2014 at 2:55 am | Permalink

    Great tips! Luckily I’ve never had an injury that kept me sidelined, but I love your realistic and positive approach to bouncing back. These days, working out 4 days is pretty normal and fine for me and I wasn’t even injured! I think you’re doing great ;-)
    Kelly @ Kelly Runs For Food recently posted…Weekend recap: girls days are the best daysMy Profile

    • Jan @ Sprouts n Squats
      Posted April 29, 2014 at 11:56 am | Permalink

      Glad to hear you have not had an injury before, I wouldn’t wish it on anyone ;)

      Hehe thank you, I think if I can aim to work out 6 days a week and only get 4 then that’s still a good level ;)

  • Posted April 29, 2014 at 6:57 am | Permalink

    I’ve never had a bad injury, but it sounds to me like you are doing all the right things!

    My weekend was fabulous, we were road tripping for a wedding. It was a blast, but now I’m wayyyy behind on pretty much everything.
    Kim @ BusyBod recently posted…It’s the final countdown {weekly plan}My Profile

    • Jan @ Sprouts n Squats
      Posted April 29, 2014 at 12:41 pm | Permalink

      Glad to hear you’ve not had a bad injury, I wouldn’t wish it on anyone!

      Glad you had a nice weekend. I hope your finals study goes well this week ;)

  • Posted April 29, 2014 at 8:02 am | Permalink

    number 2 was so crucial for me. Trying not to get ahead and be well, we must relearn and rebuild!
    lindsay recently posted…Motivation Monday – Choosing ContentmentMy Profile

    • Jan @ Sprouts n Squats
      Posted April 29, 2014 at 12:42 pm | Permalink

      Definitely got to take it slow and be patient.

  • Posted April 29, 2014 at 8:30 am | Permalink

    Patience. Ugh! That the toughest part everytime!
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    • Jan @ Sprouts n Squats
      Posted April 29, 2014 at 12:42 pm | Permalink

      Yep! ;)

  • Posted April 29, 2014 at 10:20 am | Permalink

    Love this Jan. Always love tips from people who’ve been through it for real! Patience is important and do it one step at a time. :)
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    • Jan @ Sprouts n Squats
      Posted April 29, 2014 at 12:43 pm | Permalink

      Thanks Aquilah :)

      Thanks again for sharing it too!

  • Posted April 29, 2014 at 9:44 pm | Permalink

    So much of it is about attitude! I have had quite a few… breaking my jaw was bad but in the grand scheme what’s a few weeks? You have the rest of your life to workout!
    Laura @ Sprint 2 the Table recently posted…Strange But Good TrialsMy Profile

    • Jan @ Sprouts n Squats
      Posted May 2, 2014 at 8:53 am | Permalink

      So so true! I think in the past I’ve forgotten about the big picture of it, that once you are back to full strength the injury becomes a distance memory.

  • Posted April 29, 2014 at 10:03 pm | Permalink

    Absolutely yes to all of these. I found when I was coming back from an injury I had to remind myself to be KIND to myself. Glad you’re back at it!
    Cori @ olivetorun.com recently posted…My Quarter Life CrisisMy Profile

    • Jan @ Sprouts n Squats
      Posted May 2, 2014 at 8:54 am | Permalink

      :) I think being kind to ourselves is something that a lot of us too easily forget to do sometimes. It is so nice to be back running I can’t tell you.

  • Posted April 30, 2014 at 1:47 pm | Permalink

    Patience was hard, because I craved exercise while being injured. You have to remember to do what is best for your body though. :)
    Natalie Staeckeler recently posted…Finding MyselfMy Profile

    • Jan @ Sprouts n Squats
      Posted May 2, 2014 at 9:01 am | Permalink

      Patience I think is one of the hardest parts for sure! I hope you are having a good week :)

  • Posted May 2, 2014 at 1:43 am | Permalink

    Definitely have been there before… it’s so easy to jump right in but it’s better in the long run not to!
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    • Jan @ Sprouts n Squats
      Posted May 7, 2014 at 9:07 am | Permalink

      Yep slow and steady wins out :)

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