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Starting Out // Exercising with an Injury

I have started my journey a million times. Every time I thought I needed to start strong. Every time I ended up giving up.
My major mistake was not listening to my body and not allowing myself the time I needed to make myself strong. When you’re new to exercise, especially when you have an injury of any kind, pushing yourself to go hard out at the beginning can be damaging.
It’s so tempting to watch videos of people doing amazing work out routines and thinking you need to do the same. Realistically you are not prepared to do that until well into your fitness journey. You’re going to end up hurting yourself physically as well as emotionally. It can be soul destroying to try your best, push yourself as hard as possible and feel like you’re failing. The old saying “Comparing your first chapter to someone’s ending is not productive” is so true when it comes to exercise. You’re not going to play a game of tennis and suddenly turn into Serena or Venus Williams. The same is true of the gym, walking, swimming, whatever exercise you pick. Allow yourself time to become strong. It’s the biggest kindness you can pay to yourself.

exercise, fitness, health, Planetbakelife, injury


Before we go any further, it’s really important for me to remind you that it’s important to seek medical advice whenever you have an injury.

I visited a physio, a doctor and an osteopath before embarking on any fitness routine. All of them suggested low impact exercise.

  • Walking
    Walking is my personal favourite low impact exercise. I like putting on some music or taking my husband along and discovering new areas. The upside for me is that we have a lot of cats in our area so a walk down the road results in major kitty cuddles. New Zealand has some amazing walks and I definitely take advantage of them when possible. I’ll do a round up of my favourite walks on the blog in case you’re stuck for places to go. It’s not just tramping and hiking, there are fantastic flat and low impact walks out there too. However walking can be difficult in winter when its cold and rainy and windy.
  • The Gym
    There are other low impact exercises out there, especially if you’re willing to spend a bit of money. A gym membership will mean a low impact walk on the treadmill or some time on the bike is available to you without getting drenched. It’s important to look after yourself at the gym though. Make sure a personal trainer is made aware of your injuries when they show you around the gym. It’s a good idea to book a few personal trainer sessions to get to grips with the equipment and find a routine with the equipment that will protect you. Your gym may also offer great classes like low impact yoga, pilates or tai chi.
  • The Pool
    The best low impact exercise of them all? In the pool. You don’t even have to swim! Most pools will have a walking lane. A few lengths back and forth, simply walking, will do you wonders. The water provides enough resistance to get your muscles working but keeps you suspended enough that you aren’t putting pressure on joints. If you’ve got a joint injury then this is definitely the way to go. Entry into a pool normally costs between $8-15 and is worth every penny.
    There are also aqua fitness classes when you’re stronger. I wouldn’t recommend them straight out of the gate, they can be intense and depending on the size of classes you may not be able to stand in deep enough water. There are also different levels of aqua fitness classes depending on where you go of course. I would strongly recommend aqua fitness classes, especially in the winter. The water is warm and really lovely on sore joints and muscles.

If you’re exercising with an injury, let me know below what exercises you’re doing and how you’re finding them. If you have any tips or tricks then leave them below.
It can be such a huge learning curve when you have an injury, learning how your body works and moves differently to others. Not everyone hurts the same way and not everybody hurts the same with the same movement. It takes time to get to know your body and your injury.

  • Christel Hansen

    Exercising with an injury is a major learning curve. I’ve injured both my ankles in the past, so some high intensity workouts just don’t work for me – so I try to do a mix of both high and low intensity cardio. There was a time when I couldn’t even go for a walk because my ankles would give me so much grief, so I actually forced myself to rest it until I could use it again, and I think that’s important too. Recognise when you need to rest your body, because if you don’t, you could make your injuries even worse.
    When it comes to selecting a personal trainer, I wouldn’t just rely on the ones who work at the gym – I’ve been to so many gyms over the years now, and there’s only ever been 1 personal trainer I’ve come across who was any good. Heard so many horror stories from friends who’ve had personal trainers push them too hard, and put them off ever working out again (or worse, caused them to injure themselves!). Not ideal!
    I friggen love exercising in the pool, it’s so much fun! Recently found a heated pool in Kaitaia so am going to enquire about aqua fitness classes! YUSSSS
    Good luck on your fitness journey Sam! Will be here every step of the way! oxoxo

    • Samantha Lines

      Thanks for such a lovely long comment Christel!
      I agree, personal trainers are not all created equal. I think if you head to more specialized gyms they tend to be better. I’m thinking of Amanda and Kyle here who I’m sure would take injuries into account and educate themselves if they didn’t understand a particular injury. I think some gyms have physios on hand too so those are great ones to look out for. Personal trainers who push too hard are just not doing anyone any favours.
      I totally agree, resting an injury is so important. I’ve got a post coming up on how to rest an injury and how to look after it depending on where it is on your body 🙂 I’ll definitely get in touch to find out how you rested your ankles (obviously difficult as you use them every day! Props to you!)
      Pools are the absolute nuts. They’re so good for so many things. I absolutely love the pool.
      I can’t wait to share more with you and to hear how your fitness journey is going, Christel. I know you and Ricky are amping up the intensity all the way up north! xxxx

      • Christel Hansen

        Yay! This is such a good topic to talk about!!
        I definitely agree with you on that one, I think Amanda & Kyle are a huge step above the rest. I know Amanda has had injuries in the past (I think maybe her ankle too?? Not sure!) so she’d definitely know the ins and outs.
        That’s a good idea! Having a physio on hand would be perfect. I’ve seen so many people who get injuries because they just don’t know the proper technique when lifting – and how are they supposed to learn if no one teaches them properly?! Ricky’s even helped out quite a few people when they’ve been struggling, just because he doesn’t want to see them hurt themselves!
        Whenever we train together people ALWAYS come up and ask him if he’s a personal trainer, because he’s always watching my technique and correcting it if he needs to hahahaha
        Pools are awesome! I love swimming! (Not REAL swimming, I’m not that great, just being in the water is enough for me!) Back in Auckland I lived about 5 minutes walk away from the pools, and it was so good!
        Yay I’m so looking forward to it! I’ve had a bit of a health scare with my blood tests, so I’ve kicked myself up the backside and am making sure my eating & exercise routines are on track! oxoxo

        • Samantha Lines

          I didn’t know you’d had a blood scary. Sorry to hear it but so pleased you’re getting back on track!

          Technique is so very important. It’s amazing how its the first thing to slip unfortunately.