Resuming Exercise After Injury, Illness or Surgery

Modifications are Essential for a Safe Fitness Routine

If you are new to a fitness program or recovering from an injury or illness, you are going to need to take it easy and use modifications to keep yourself safe. Go at a pace that gives your body the chance to process and adapt. This will set you up for success to improve your coordination, stamina, and level of conditioning. Going hard and fast is not going to get you there, it’s likely to set you back further than where you are now.  

Illness/Surgery/Injury Recovery

Before you start working out with a new program you should consult a trusted medical professional. They can give you suggestions for taking care of yourself if you are recovering from illness, injury, or surgery. This is not the time to power through something because you feel like you “should” be working out. Pain is an important signal, as is inflammation. If you are experiencing either of these, you are going to need to adapt your workout, so you don’t aggravate existing issue. Wait until you have been cleared for exercise by your medical specialist. They really don’t want to see you in their office any sooner than necessary.

Make Your Exercises Accessible

Go back to the foundation movements of your exercise routine. Plan for more time in the warm up and cool down sessions of your exercise and for shorter sessions over all. Focus on body parts that aren’t actively recovering or in pain. Give yourself a Fitness Assessment so you can see your starting baseline.

The Pushup Test (measures muscular strength and endurance)
The Crunch Test (measures abdominal strength and endurance)
The 3-Minute Step Test (measures aerobic fitness)
The 1-Mile Walk Test (measures aerobic fitness)


Depending on how your body is feeling, floor workouts get you moving without putting too much tension on your body. If you are seated, try these exercises from last week’s blog.  

Pilates style core work and even some yoga poses work really well in a chair or on the floor.  You can also use fitness tools such as: foam blocks, straps, resistance bands, balls, step stools, tables and/or chairs to get creative and make it possible for your body to move with comfort.

If, you have access to a swimming pool, this is great for moving the body with less impact, you can even get cardio.

Something as simple as a walk around the block can get the blood moving and help your body with its recovery. If your knees or hips are grumpy, keep it to a short walk on level ground. Enlist the help of a friends for some good conversations.

Add Mobilization to Your Workouts

Wrists -

Hip -

Ankles -

Shoulders -


Pay Attention to Your Body

A great sign of being ready to exercise again is that you have motion without pain and/or energy to resume activities. Physical injuries can make it hard to motivate yourself to get up, let alone exercise. If you are still in the phase of recovery where you have no energy, you are not ready for your typical fitness routine. Give yourself time to heal and the energy will start to come back. Once it does, then make it accessible and ease into your fitness routine.

Practice Self Care

Keep getting as much quality rest as you are able, eat the foods that help your body feel good, drink plenty of water, and take any and all medications or supplements you need. If possible consider massage or other type of body work that sounds like it would be great to support your healing process.

If you want to resume or begin a fitness routine and have questions about the safest way to begin, please contact me and let me know how I can can assist. We can set up a FREE 30 minute phone/video chat that will get you moving again.

Nancy TrunzoComment