The human body is designed to move. Exercise protects your overall health and prevents a host of ailments and injuries. A healthy body positions you to experience the great things life has to offer, including the sports you love.
Your athletic activities provide exercise packed with physical and mental benefits. Unfortunately, an injury can throw a wrench into the well-oiled machine that is your daily exercise routine. But by following the advice of your chiropractor, medical doctor, or physical therapist, you can gradually work your way back to peak condition.
Seven Benefits of Daily Exercise
What is happening to your body as you perform? Here are seven ways exercise benefits your body and mind, how those benefits are affected by injury, and how exercise and its benefits can help you heal.
Improved Muscle and Bone Structure
Your daily exercise routine strengthens the parts that keep you in motion—muscles, bones, joints, tendons. Resistance and aerobic exercises build muscle tone and improve bone mineralization. As a result, you have greater mobility in your tissues and reduced pressure in your joints. Your cartilage health improves. With increased strength, you are less likely to fall and injure yourself. But…
If You’re Injured…Take Your Time
With a long recovery, you may lose muscle tone and stamina. Give yourself time to heal appropriately; rushing the process will only make things worse.
You will probably go through rehabilitation, “a group of physical methods, procedures, and exercises designed to improve function and stability following an illness or injury. Rehabilitation is critical in remodeling soft tissue injuries and for the alignment of fibroblast (cells that produce collagen) and proper collagen synthesis into properly repaired tissue. Rehabilitation is different from exercise as its goal is to heal and remodel injured tissue as well as stabilize the patient so they can return to a pre-injury exercise or athletic endeavors.”
Your doctors will help you gradually, safely work your way back to fitness.
Improved Cardiovascular Health
Your athletic activity accelerates your metabolism. This “delivers oxygen and nutrients to your tissues and helps your cardiovascular system work more efficiently.” Daily exercise lowers blood pressure, regulates cholesterol and blood sugar, and helps arteries dilate more easily. As a result, every day, you reduce your risk of cardiovascular disease.
If You’re Injured…Your Heart Will Go On
Injury can keep you from that exhilarating feeling you get from your workouts. But your new exercise routine can still get your heart rate going, help you feel better, and contribute toward efficient healing.
Reduced Risk of Chronic Disease
Your athletic activity keeps your body in motion. Therefore, muscles and organs gain strength while lingering things that can promote the disease get whisked away.
Research at Johns Hopkins shows that a combination of aerobic exercise and strength training can lower the risk of diabetes by more than 50 percent. You also lower the risk for other conditions, including some forms of cancer and stroke. Besides, exercise reduces comorbidity—the simultaneous occurrence of multiple diseases or conditions.
If You’re Injured…Move!
You won’t be subject to a sudden onset of heart disease and diabetes after an injury. However, moving as soon as possible, even a little, helps avoid less severe illnesses and encourages healing. In addition, a gradual build-up of exercise will go a long way toward a return to your sport.
With your daily exercise routine, you likely find it easier to fall and stay asleep. That is because deep sleep refreshes your brain and body. However, exercise releases endorphins, which can keep you awake. So give yourself a few hours between exercise and bedtime.
If You’re Injured… Be Still for a While
You may need some time to rest, especially right after your injury. So, increase your sleep time for a while. During sleep, your brain releases growth hormones that generate new muscle, bone, and other tissues that repair the damage.
Improved Sex Drive
Daily exercise can improve your sex life. Exercise boosts blood flow and increases arousal in both men and women. In addition, research has shown that people who exercised vigorously reported improved sexual desire, activity, and satisfaction.
Exercise increases your overall energy level and makes you look great, leaving you with a feeling of confidence and attractiveness.
Weight control depends on balancing diet and exercise. As an athlete, you need to consume more high-quality calories than the average person to fuel your activity level.
If You’re Injured…Seek a New Balance
You may need to reduce your diet; you will burn fewer calories during recovery. Still, maintaining a healthy, balanced diet will encourage healing when combined with your rehabilitation.
Improved Mental Health
Getting daily exercise while participating in a sport you love makes you feel great. A good workout can burn away stress and help alleviate symptoms of anxiety and depression.
When you use daily exercise to stay fit, you look good, giving your self-esteem a boost. You also have the social camaraderie of the team and workouts with like-minded people.
If You’re Injured…Be Kind to Yourself
You don’t like slowing down. Maybe you’re worried about your continued ability to perform your sport. It’s vital to avoid falling into the grip of depression or other mental illnesses. As recommended by your doctors and therapists, maintaining a modified daily exercise routine will keep you feeling empowered and focused on healing. Set goals and document your progress. Most importantly, be patient with yourself.
As an athlete, you are focused on your performance and maintaining peak physical condition. But when injured, your focus shifts to getting back to normal. Because your pre-injured body is well conditioned, all those exercise benefits will work in your favor. You may lose muscle tone, or your metabolism may slow down, but if you do as the experts recommend, you can return to normal safely and relatively quickly.
Take care of your body, and your body will take care of you. Daily exercise will protect you from the lasting effects of illness and injury, giving you more time to enjoy your sport and a greater chance at a long, healthy life.
At the Bergen Chiropractic and Sports Rehabilitation Center, our chiropractic team, led by Dr. Gregory Doerr, follows the highest and most professional medical standards to provide superior chiropractic help. After all, our mission is to provide unparalleled patient care and services in a comfortable healing atmosphere. Contact us to learn more about our chiropractic services!