Ankle injuries are almost always part of an athlete’s life. When an athlete gets an ankle injury for the first time, recuperation is hard. Minor ankle problems like sprains and strains can be avoided with proper compression garments and shoes during a game or a workout but some ankle twists cannot be avoided even if you have taken the necessary precautions. Thus, injuries. But what if we told you that low impact exercises could help prevent ankle injuries? Prepare to be informed.
The usual ankle injury is the inward twist. This creates a tear in the ligaments and muscles that support the ankle. Grade 1 level ankle sprains can heal even with just simple RICE (Rest, Ice, Elevation and Compression.) Refer to our previous blog for a more detailed explanation of what RICE is. But some grade 2 or 3 injuries are more serious and cannot just be corrected by a simple elevation or compression of the joints. Some injuries need the ankles immobilized for six months or so. Even other more serious injuries need surgery.
Whatever kind of ankle injury you might have experienced in the past, going back to the sport you love or the gym workout that you used to do can be psychologically traumatic. Getting that first step towards recuperation can be the hardest. But because you are a natural athlete, you just can’t shove aside the idea of not getting back at sports. Which means you need to start with low impact exercises.
Why Low Impact Exercises? Ankle Injuries Avoided
Low impact exercises are best for people who are just starting with working out and those who have bad joints in their hips, knees or ankles. These types of exercises do not put much toll on the joints of your lower body but at the same time still give you ample exercise minutes and burn calories.
It is best for people who have had ankle injuries because low impact workouts are easier on the joints. These exercises can still give you the heart-pumping workout but reduces your chances of getting injuries. Plus, it also reduces the risk of cardiovascular disease.
Now let’s divide the low impact exercises into 3 categories, the ones which you can do at home and the ones that you can do at the gym. If you have a gym membership, don’t worry you can still use it by doing the low impact exercises suggested below. And of course low impact exercises which you can do outdoors.
Low Impact Exercises at Home (Or Anywhere)
- Walking – Spend about 15 to 20 minutes walking. Although you will most probably walk around the house, allotting a regular time to walk 3x a week or on a daily basis will let your body know that it is trying to get back into cardio after the injury.
- Step Aerobics – This can be done at home with just music and a step board. Follow a video on step aerobics for about 5-10 minutes and it sure is going to give you a good cardio workout without giving too much toll on your ankles.
- Dancing – There are different dances that you can do but the basic dance that is best for recuperating ankles is ballroom dancing
- Strength Training – There are different strength training exercises good for the ankles. Here’s a quick guide to best strength training exercises for the ankles.
Low Impact Exercises at the Gym
- Elliptical (No to Treadmills) – Treadmills are hard on the knees and the ankles. Elliptical machines are best for cardio exercises without injuring the ankles further. Most gyms have this machine. Spending 20 minutes can get you perspiring in no time.
- Stairmaster – This is more exciting than the ordinary treadmill. If your gym doesn’t have the Stairmaster, then you can just use real stairs at home instead.
- Rowing Machine – Make your cardio routine more exciting with the rowing machine. This is an intense, more advance cardio workout without the impact on the ankle joint. It is a fun workout for the arms, legs and your core!
- Yoga – One of the best exercises that require less impact on the ankle. Better yet, aerial yoga gives no impact on the ankle at all. Bikram yoga also will get you sweating in no time without injuring your ankles.
Low Impact Exercises Outdoor
- Cycling – If you think your ankle is ready to go outdoors for an exercise, cycling can be the most accessible cardio exercise instead of jogging. Jogging will take a toll on an injured ankle.
- Kayaking – Take it to the water! Enjoy a more water fun activity with kayaking. This is a great exercise not just for the upper body but also a great exercise to keep yourself active during the weekends.
- Tai Chi – This is a type of exercise which is very good for people who want to take things slow but still want to keep things moving. This exercise is a meditation in motion exercise that gives the ankle joints a break from heavy movement.
- Swimming – Do laps and enjoy a hot day at the beach or at the pool. It strengthens the ankle along with the shoulders.
** A word of caution: These exercises should be cleared with your doctor or physical therapist. Make sure to wear compression garments like the ankle sleeve from CopperJoint or other ankle supports to restrict ankle mobility. This is especially needed by injured ankles getting back to sports to avoid re-injury.
Wearing Compression Garments during Exercise
After being injured, it is best to wear compression garments like ankle sleeves and ankle supports. Wearing compression sleeves will restrict movement and the range of motion of your ankle. This makes you less prone to further injury. Even if you have not experience any ankle sprains before, it is best to have your ankles wear compression sleeves for better performance and prevention of injuries.
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