Sedentary living is one of the biggest culprits for unwanted weight gain and declining fitness levels, aside from overeating and related lifestyle issues. What causes you unexpected sedentary behavior? well, injuries and surgeries are a couple of things that can do it. Even formerly fit people complain that the weeks spent recovering from injury or surgery is often catastrophic to their waistlines. Here are some strategies to minimize the damage.
Planned Surgery or sudden Injury
It is best to begin improving your fitness level before the date of your planned surgery. If your limbs are functional and you’re mobile, focus on building/keeping your lean muscle with more resistance training. That way, you can use the first week to two weeks of your healing period as planned rest without too much muscle loss. If your injury is sudden, then focus on the functioning muscles and joints surrounding your injury. For example, if your ankle or knee has been injured you can do seated leg lifts using just your boot or cast as weight. Aim for a couple sets of 10 repetitions and work up from there.
Low impact activities like swimming and Pilates are good choices for folks with injured joints and biking indoors or outdoors is a good cardio option for injured knees. Biking strengthens the small muscles surrounding the knees without much of the shock associated with running. Use both the recumbent and upright bike and aim for a moderate mount of knee flexion and resistance.
Mental Health Check: Being in chronic pain is debilitating regardless of the reason and feeling like your body is malfunctioning only makes it worse. Sure, depression might seep in and that is natural, don’t despair. Try refocusing on what your body CAN do now.
Focus on your food choices
Since you will be less mobile while you heal, it is smart to take control of you eating habits at this time. Aim to eat mostly wholesome foods found in nature instead of snack foods and be aware of portion sizes. As your body tries to comfort itself it might want to turn to food. Understandable but dangerous. Depending on your injury, boost your fitness with short walks or bike rides, yoga, Pilates and swimming – activities which have been proven to boost both fitness AND mood.