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Let’s get PHYSICAL

by Archives September 21, 2005

As the lazy days of summer fade into the crisp, brisk days of fall, chances are you’ll be full of energy and likely to ramp up your workouts as a result. But if you kick things up too many notches too soon, you may find yourself sidelined by a nasty strain or sprain.

If you find this bit of foreshadowing has become your fate, fear not my friend! Follow these simple tips to keep fit while you’re on the mend:

Get a fitness Rx

If you’re hoping to heal quickly, steer clear of your regular routine. Make an appointment with your doctor ASAP and get a list of specific dos and don’ts to avoid aggravating your injury. You may also want to tone down the intensity and reduce the frequency of your workouts. Begin by exercising two or three times a week and gradually work back up to four or five.

Work around your injury

Injured doesn’t have to mean inactive. The more you do to keep the rest of your body fit, the faster you’ll get back into your exercise groove after you recover. If you neglect the rest of your body, you run the risk of weight gain, muscle atrophy, loss of cardiovascular endurance and exacerbation of high blood pressure and cholesterol problems.

Mix it up

Let your injury be your inspiration to try new activities while you’re on the mend. Lower-impact mind and body exercises, like yoga, Pilates and tai chi are all effective options.

But don’t rule out traditional exercises. For an upper-body ailment, get your cardio fix by riding a recumbent bike or using a single-action elliptical machine. To keep your muscles tight and toned, limit exercises to those that target your lower half. Leg curls, hip extensions, lunges, squats and traditional crunches will keep you pumped without causing you pain.

For a lower-body injury, cardio training is tougher, but not impossible. Swim (with a flotation device, if necessary), use an upper-body ergonometer or try your hand at a hand bicycle. As for weights, stick to upper-body moves. Bicep curls, triceps extensions, chest presses and lat pull-downs will keep you in top form ’till you’re back on your feet.

Cut calories

By reducing the frequency and intensity of your workouts, your body will be burning fewer calories, so slash your daily intake by about 20-25 per cent to avoid packing on pounds. Shrinking portions and cutting out unnecessary carbs that your body no longer needs for fuel can help.

As the seasons shift and heat-induced lethargy turns into unbridled energy, avoid exercise excess or you’ll be putting yourself at risk. But if you do sustain an injury, don’t let it slow you down. Talk to your doc, draft a new routine and watch what you eat, and you’ll bounce back in no time!

Question of the Week: How do you fit fitness into your hectic schedule? Drop me an e-mail with your tips and watch for ’em in print in the weeks to come.

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