Can injuries be a barrier to improving fitness levels?

Unfortunately, yes. Injuries past and present will be an obstacle to improving fitness levels. Physical fitness relies on increasing your movement, and injuries can prevent you from doing this. However, there are many ways to compensate for effects of previous injuries. Fitness professionals have an entire arsenal of exercises, and they can guide you to the appropriate ones. Performing exercises slowly and paying attention to how your body reacts can help you overcome this barrier. Additionally, a well-rounded exercise program that includes flexibility training, aerobic work, and resistance exercises will help remove some of the impediments from prior injury and help prevent future injury. In addition, acknowledge when an injury exists and seek prompt medical treatment from a qualified professional. Trying to exercise with pain will only exacerbate an injury and possibly necessitate a longer recovery. Exercising should be fatiguing not painful, and pain is a symptom of something is not right. Also, when returning to exercise after an injury, be sure to consult with a health and fitness professional before starting.

Injuries can prevent you from improving fitness levels. When starting an exercise program you want to identify muscle imbalances. Muscle imbalances can lead to improper movement patterns, which lead to injuries. Fitness professionals are knowledgeable to identify those muscle imbalances.  Based on those muscle imbalances they can create an individualized program that will help you improve your fitness level without getting injured.
Injuries can be a barrier to improving your fitness level.  However, this is something you can get over.  Sometimes through life we will have injuries that prevent us to do certain things.  This could mean we are out for a week, two weeks or even months depending on the injury.  Unfortunately our goals are put on hold until we heal ourselves and get back on that horse so to speak.  Remember our bodies are not perfect and things do happen we just have to learn how to prevent these things.  Seeing a qualifed professional to help with your routine before you exercise is a great start.  Having a personal trainer showing you what you should be doing and what you shouldn't is very helpful.  Now if a injury occurs always seek those professionals that can help you rehab your body safely and effectively so you can get to back what you were trying to acheive.  Most injuries can be prevented through the proper education.
Not only can injuries be a physical barrier to exercise because you can't workout they are also a psychological barrier. Psychologically when people are injured they can go into a depression and sometimes become apathetic which can last for sometime after the injury. When people get injured there can also be a fear of getting injured again causing a person to not want to exercise. The severity of the injury will generally indicate the severity of the barrier. If someone has been exercise regularly for years coming back from an injury may not be a traumatic as someone who has just started to workout. 

    Combining my own experiences with the data collected for over six years while training executives, I learned the most common physical complaints are associated with the neck, shoulder, back, knee, and foot. I have found that most of the executives I work with get relief from this pain through exercise and stretching techniques. I have even been told that not only did their pain subside, but they were able to cancel surgery appointments and resume activities they previously had been unable to do.

 The keys to their success were:

    -seeking and taking the advice of a trusted professional

    -finding the right exercise to strengthen the weakened, injured muscles

    -making sure the exercises could be performed in a pain-free range of motion

    -keeping the joints moving and the muscles surrounding the joints flexible

    -recognizing their weaknesses and not pushing their limits 

     Performing exercises in a pain-free range of motion is good advice for anyone, even if they aren’t injured. I do not believe in the philosophy, “no pain, no gain.” Pain is your body’s way of communicating with you. If you ever experience a stabbing pain when performing an exercise, stop and correct your form. If the pain persists, the exercise you are performing may not be right for you. However, a burning sensation in the muscle toward the end of a set means you are achieving muscle fatigue, which is considered a “good” pain when exercising.

     Know your strengths but, more importantly, know your weaknesses? Whether you sustained an injury in high school or last week, each injury is a weak link you should take into account when performing exercises.

Injuries can most definitely be a barrier to improving fitness levels.  The psychological barrier can be tougher to get over than the physical barrier.  Working with a certified fitness professional can help one recover from an injury quicker and improve his or her fitness level.  Just knowing that someone can help with injury rehabilitation usually improves one's psychological outlook.

I begin with a fitness assesment using various tests including an overhead squat test.  Depending upon the recovery stage, I will usually work very closely with your doctor to ensure we are utilizing the best methods to aide in your injury recovery and reaching your fitness goals.  The assessment allows me to determine the best corrective exercises to incorporate into your program.  Once you are ready, I progress your program to the next level incorporating periodization to keep your fitness level progressing and your workouts fun.
Injuries can be a challenge to improving fitness levels, but not a complete barrier.  Exercises can be modified or more importantly exercises and activities can be chosen that will be best to encourage healing as well as fitness.  It is a good idea to stay active, if possible during your injury so that you do not lose the gains you have made, especially cardiovascularly.  Injury may keep you from your intended program, but a properly designed maintenance program will be beneficial.  Depending on what the injury is, seeking the guidance of a physical therapist or licensed athletic trainer, you may be able to strengthen the injured body part to be stronger than before the injury and be less likely to reinjure that same body part.

Yes, injuries are a setback for improving physical fitness.  To help prevent injuries your best approach is to take the time to have your body assessed and develop a safe and effective fitness program.

Meet with a NASM certified personal trainer for a dynamic postural assessment.  A dynamic postural assessment observes your basic body movements, how your muscles and joints work together, and to look for any imbalances or dysfunctions in your posture alignment that can be corrected.   An optimal posture alignment lets your body produce at a high level of functional strength, movement, range of motion, and helps reduce injuries.

After completing your dynamic postural assessment, I highly recommend completing (for 4 to 6 weeks) the stabilization level of the NASM’s Optimum Performance Training (OPT) model (phase 1), before starting any strength training program or NASM’s strength endurance training (phase 2).  

The stabilization phase offers many benefits to prepare your body for fitness training.  The two best stabilization endurance training benefits I found are: preparing your body structure and connective tissues for the stress of strength training, and addressing and correcting restrictive flexibility, muscle imbalances and posture adjustments.

Be sure to occasionally recycle into stabilization endurance training during your fitness program.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.