Working Out When You Can’t Work Out

Welcome to Monday.  I hope you had a fantastic weekend and are coming to the week refreshed.

That being said…If you’ve got a case of the Mondays, though, this post is worth reading.  Of course, if you’re blue not because it’s Monday but because the Warriors lost by 2 to the Cavs in the 2nd game of the playoffs…well, you’re SOL.

winning lebron meme

Sorry, amigos.  Get up, dry your tears, and remember that there’s always next year. [Trust me…I’m a Kings fan.]

Anyway, this weekend was great because I was able to get in some surprisingly good workouts in spite of my weird lower back issue/quasi-injury.  After close to a week of letting my back rest, it was feeling better enough for me to start trying to work around it.  This is surprisingly challenging, since your lower back is part of the core musculature and is engaged in nearly every movement, whether as a stabilizer or as a prime mover.

Let me tell you, not being able to work out is frustrating.  Being able to work out but not at full force and with tons of modifications to your normal workouts is just as frustrating. But you do get endorphins, so that helps.

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One of the things I found most helpful was remembering that your workouts should be something you love [even when they’re physically and/or mentally challenging].  If you’re in the midst of working around an injury while you rehab it, find ways to modify your “marshmallow” workouts to safely accommodate your injury while still enjoying the mental and physical benefits of your favorite movement modality.

As an example, I modified this 10 minute core workout a couple days ago with moves that didn’t aggravate my back.  Not only was it effective – I’m still sore two days later, and I hardly ever get sore from ab/core workouts – but my back is still mending with no further setbacks!

On the other hand, you can also use an injury as an opportunity to shake up your normal routine.  Personally, I went out of the box on several occasions this weekend.  One morning I headed to the gym with a new book to read on the treadmill for 45 minutes, and another morning I got in a quick circuit workout at a nearby playground [it was surprisingly good, so expect to see a playground workout on the blog soon!].  Yesterday afternoon things wrapped up with a hike to a lookout point over the Golden Gate bridge.

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These were activities that took me out of my usual comfort zone – geographically and mentally – while still letting me enjoy physical movement, get some endorphins going, and have a mini adventure.

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So while “taking it easy” may be harder than I thought, it’s also turned out to be more fun than I expected.

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We can all agree that getting hurt sucks, but getting better doesn’t have to.

How have you worked around an injury or physical limitation?

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