Exercising or going to the gym after a car accident can be very difficult and dangerous. But these tips will make it easier for you.
If you’ve recently been in a car accident, large or small, you’re probably not feeling quite like yourself. Maybe you’re stiff or sore or dealing with an injury, which means it may take some time to get back to your regular fitness routine.
As you begin to transition back to the gym, it’s also important to pace yourself and choose your exercises carefully so that you don’t further injure yourself.
Dos And Don’ts Of Exercising After A Car Accident
Yes, exercising after a car accident is possible, but it must be done carefully. Here are a few tips to help you work out safely after an injury suffered in a car accident:
Do: Stretch It Out
One of the most common complaints people have after a car accident is that they’re stiff and achy. That can happen for a number of reasons, but typically it’s not a sign of a serious injury.
Start off gentle by loosening up those aches and pains with a simple sequence of stretches, including shoulder raises, gentle arm lifts with small weights, and downward dog exercises.
The goal is to elongate the muscles and help them gently settle back into their natural positions.
Don’t: Overwork Your Neck
Many people suffer whiplash after being in a car accident, though they may just think it’s neck pain – and it’s important to determine what’s going on before you head back to the gym.
That’s because, if you do have whiplash, you need to avoid common neck stretches that may actually worsen your condition.
Instead of focusing on the neck, those with whiplash should work on gently mobilizing the spine so that the tissues decompress and have a chance to heal.
The most effective exercises for this are Cat-Camel, Quadruped, and Dead Bug. Check them out in the video below!
Do: Consider The Medical – And Legal – Implications
Some people can simply return to the gym after an accident, but others are much more severely injured.
In fact, car accident victims may suffer from brain injuries, broken bones, internal organ damage, and even amputations.
No matter your injuries, you can start working out again, but you should have proper guidance.
Listen to your doctor’s advice and work with a physical therapist. They can help you develop an appropriate fitness routine that accommodates your individual healing process – and a lawyer can determine how to recover the costs of this treatment.
Don’t: Rush The Process
The last thing you want to do after a car accident is head directly to the gym, but this is especially true if you have any kind of injury.
This is especially important if you have whiplash, a concussion, or other head or spinal cord injury.
Do: Hit The Pool
Aquatherapy is one of the gentlest ways to get your body moving after a car accident since it doesn’t put pressure on the joints.
It’s best done under the guidance of a PT. But if you’re going for it alone, skip the laps and, instead, do some pool exercises such as walking in the pool, practicing lunges, leg lifts, and arm raises.
Again, recovery workouts aren’t like normal workouts – the goal is to stretch and recover, not to build muscle or lose weight. You don’t need or want to feel exhausted after these workouts.
Don’t: Skip The Chiropractor
Most people experience misalignment of the spine after being in a car accident. Overwhelmed by seeing doctors and handling legal issues, though, many people skip a useful step – visiting the chiropractor.
Chiropractic manipulations can help reduce inflammation and prevent scar tissue from forming in the soft tissue, as well as preventing pain associated with improper alignment.
You can also perform simple manipulations like manual cervical traction at home, though this should be done carefully.
You absolutely can exercise after a car accident, but it’s important not to rush the process. Listen to your body and stop if exercise is causing more pain.
Healing takes time and everybody is different. Only you can know how hard to push yourself.