February 7th, 2023
Falls happen – especially in winter – and can leave you with an achy shoulder, bruised hip, or even more severe injuries (like broken bones). Generally speaking, you’ll want to err on the side of caution when it comes to picking your workout routine back up after a fall, but it may be possible to get back to it sooner than you think depending, of course, on the severity of your injuries.
Getting Back to Exercise After a Fall
The most important thing you can do after a fall or injury is give your affected body parts time to heal. But if injuries are isolated to certain areas, it is likely safe to exercise the rest. A good rule of thumb is to “Use what isn’t bruised!”
A few more tips:
1) Don’t Force It
Pursue exercise but don’t force anything that causes pain. For example, if you hurt your shoulder, give that arm time to heal. Focus on your legs and core and your opposite shoulder in the meantime—or even on endurance or mobility work.
2) Try unilateral movements
If you can’t use one side, the other doesn’t have to suffer too! While healing takes place, perform movements on one side. Once the pain has subsided or your physiotherapist gives you the go-ahead, you can perform exercises on the affected side.
3) Prepare now for the future
This means, as mentioned above, exploring why a fall happened in the first place. What do you need to work on to prevent it from happening again? In many cases, performing balance exercises can go a long way!
4) Ease into exercise
You may need to find alternative forms of exercise that are easy on your muscles and joints, like gentle stretching, swimming, or simple walking workouts. In fact, there are plenty of types of exercise for older adults that emphasize balance and strengthening strategies without causing unnecessary strain or pain.
Once you’re feeling better and back on your feet, it’s worth considering why a fall happened in the first place and using that information to inform your workout routine. Do your balance, stability, and/or proprioception need work? It’s also a good idea to emphasize ‘strength and length’. While you don’t need to be super strong or flexible, a fall is also less likely to happen when you have both of these factors.