Light exercise is critical when you are recovering from illness or serious injury. Doctors always recommend walking. But even a low-impact exercise like walking can take its toll.
A study published on National Library of Medicine found walking helped patients rebuild strength in their muscles that had been lost during intensive care treatment.
If you are recovering from an injury or illness that has required surgery, hospital time or treatments such as antibiotics and chemotherapy, you will need plenty of rest before you even think about exercising.
This can be a testing time for people that are used to a regular fitness program. But after intensive care, people often find their body is weak and immobile so do not try to push beyond your limits.
Before you even start walking, wait until you have been given the green light from your medical team before you start exercising again.
Health Benefits of Walking After Illness
Walking is proven to have a wealth of health benefits. Experts recommend that walking for 30 minutes every day will stimulate your cardiovascular system and help to speed up the recovery process.
Moderate walking shouldn’t pose any risk to your health during the post rehabilitation process. However, when you do commence exercising, keep it light and ease your body back into it. Start by deep breathing exercises, stretching and walking.
Some of the benefits moderate walking activities offer include:
- Increased cardiovascular and pulmonary fitness
- Boosts immune function
- Improved management of conditions such as hypertension (high blood pressure), high cholesterol, joint and muscular pain or stiffness, and diabetes
- Strengthens bones and muscles
- Improves balance and endurance
- Picks up your mood
How To Start Walking After Serious Injury
Start at a slow pace and listen to your body. If you start feeling tired, weak or dizzy, stop and take a rest. Do not try and push yourself to do that little bit extra until you build up your strength.
The first thing to focus on during rehabilitation is building your cardiovascular fitness. Cardiovascular exercise helps to improve the efficiency of your heart, lungs and blood vessels and aids the recovery process.
When your respiratory function is engaged, it is easier for your body to circulate blood. If you walk far enough to exert yourself slightly, you will also breathe more deeply and take more oxygen into the blood. Oxygenated blood helps to improve your health.
Walking also puts stress on your tendons and muscles. Depending on your age, fitness and the type of injury or illness you are overcoming, you may want to include inclines and declines – hills and stairs – in your route.
The first time you go out, keep the walking light. You can always build on the distant you walk gradually. But the last thing you want to do is breakdown whilst you are out walking.
Use the Sweatcoin app to record the amount of steps you cover each day. This will enable you to gradually increase the distance and have a visual of your progress. Encouragement and motivation is equally important as exercise when you are recovering from a serious illness or injury.