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Sean McCawley

Sean McCawley 

There are times in life where injuries might hold us up. Falls, sprains, sport-specific injuries, and car accidents contribute to significant injuries that can unpredictably occur. We can’t control the way the wind blows as the randomness of injuries leave us with breaks, bruises, and sprains. This can mean time off due to surgery, wearing a cast, or going on disability.

Being sidelined by injuries introduces a dangerous state of inactivity. While recovering from an injury, we might be more sedentary, bored, and healthy eating habits might fly right out the window because there is simply too much time on an inactive person’s hands that is used to being mobile and active in everyday life.

The body needs to heal after a traumatic event to its bones, ligaments, and surrounding connective tissue. However, this doesn’t mean that all activity needs to stop.

We help our personal training clients in Napa recover from the affected of injuries and supersede their previous physical well-being following a lower extremity injury. Common sites include ACL reconstruction, hip replacements, and broken ankles.

Physical therapy is a critical component that helps post- operation individuals return to their everyday routines and function in society. However, after a post-operation 90-day physical therapy protocol, people are often left to their own devices and can fall off the path to recovering their repaired lower limb.

The 90-day protocol of physical therapy and rest is important to adhere to. The bones, ligaments, tendons, and connective tissue need time to heal. Combine that with a trained physical therapist watching your every move, your ability to return to normal functional parameters significantly increases. Following any sort of surgery, ligaments and tendons need time to reattach to bones and joints.

If there is a lower extremity injury, the upper body is still present and able to perform regular exercise. Why not focus on upper-body fitness as the lower extremities heal? The benefits of upper-body exercise while the lower body heals includes increase heart rate response, improved neuromuscular coordination, adequate oxygenated blood flow traveling throughout the body, and consistency in the body’s metabolism. We don’t need to put on extra weight due to a lower extremity injury. Continued upper body exercise while lower extremities heal is critical to keeping a person motivated and driven when doctors have cleared exercise for the lower body following a prescribed amount of rest and reduced physical activity.

We train our personal training clients who are afflicted by lower extremity injuries to perform exercises from seated, supine, and prone positions. Seated exercises can include seated incline dumbbell chest press, lat pull down, triceps extensions, or dumbbell biceps curls. While lying flat on ones back, exercises such as dying bugs or lower back and hip stretches can be done. There is also the foam roller, an amazing tool to loosen up muscles of the lower back and shoulder blades by performing simple self-massage to reinforce the muscles responsible for good posture. These exercises and many more can be performed while avoiding excess stress on lower extremities as they are healing.

Keeping active while recovering in not only important to accelerate recovery, but also to get the body physically and mentally ready for when the doctor grants approval to resume regular activity. Why let the upper body and core go to waste when recovering from a lower extremity injury? Keep the body fit while recovering from another injury by keeping the unafflicted parts of the body moving and adapting.

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Sean McCawley, the founder and owner of Napa Tenacious Fitness in Napa, welcomes questions and comments. Reach him at 707-287-2727, napatenacious@gmail.com or visit the website napatenaciousfitness.com.

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