Aerobic exercise increases the heart
rate, which in turn increases the flow of blood around the body,
taking healing nutrients to all body structures. It also improves
strength and flexibility without jarring the joints or spine. If you
are recovering from an injury and want to keep in shape, it is
important to first obtain approval from your doctor. Start slowly and
carefully. As you build strength and endurance, increase the time and
intensity of your exercise, but take care not to aggravate existing
Walking is possibly the best
exercise you can do. Walk two to three miles, three times a week, to
strengthen the muscles in your feet, legs, hips, and torso. Walking
also strengthens bones, reduces loss of bone density, and helps to
control weight. If you’re just beginning, start on a treadmill,
which is lower impact than on natural terrain. Add hills and varied
terrain as your strength and endurance increases.
Swimming is also excellent
aerobic exercise that places no impact on your joints and uses almost
every muscle in the body. Water counteracts gravity, which allows
more mobility. You don’t even have to swim; any exercise in water
will help keep you in shape as you recover.
Try walking forwards and backwards
in chest-high water, using hand held weights to increase the
Holding on to the side of the pool
and standing on one, slightly bent, leg while stretching the other
leg out in front of you stretches and strengthens the muscles in the
lower back, hip, and leg.
Floating on your back and making
paddling movements with the arms and legs exercises the four limbs.
Floating on your stomach, holding
on to the side of the pool with both hands and stretching the legs
out behind you stretches the muscles and joints of the back and
Stationary bicycling strengthens
the legs, increases endurance, and provides a cardiovascular workout.
Arm ergometers give the arms and upper body a workout.
trainers or step machines increase strength and endurance without
jarring your joints. You can even use your own stairs; depending on
your beginning condition, start with a few steps and gradually
increase the number of stairs climbed.
Rowing or kayaking on water
exercises the back, shoulders, and arms. If you have the use of a
rowing machine, that works the legs as well.
Yoga, Pilates, and Tai Chi
strengthen, stretch, and improve flexibility.
Weight training increases
endurance and power. Begin with a weight that you can comfortably
hold while doing 8–15 repetitions. When that starts to feel easy,
increase the weight a little. Weight training can help to maintain
Circuit training: If you have
the use of a gym, circuit training is an excellent, low impact way of
staying in shape. Do 10 minutes on a bicycle, 10 minutes walking, and
10 minutes on the rowing machine, alternating these sessions with
exercises using weights.
Whatever type of exercise you choose to
do, get medical approval before beginning, start slowly and carefully
and gradually build up time and intensity. Taking care not to overdo
it at the beginning means you are less likely to reinjure yourself.