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Should PAIN stop you from going to the GYM?

As a physiotherapist, I often find that many of my injured clients have a belief that they should avoid the gym. They perceive it as a place that may be more dangerous than other forms of exercise such as Pilates or Hydrotherapy. However in my opinion, if used correctly, the gym can be the perfect environment to help in the management of pain and injuries.

Exercise plays a very significant role in the treatment, rehabilitation and long term management of many musculoskeletal presentations. And the gym provides such a vast variety of exercise options, using many different types of equipment and performed at varying intensities.

It is important that a gym workout is appropriate for your condition so that it is safe. Physiotherapists are qualified in exercise prescription and have a thorough knowledge of anatomy and how the body should be working to both correct and prevent injuries. Your physiotherapist can modify your gym program so that you can still work towards your specific exercise goals, while also incorporating your injury rehabilitation into your program.

Why can/should you continue going:

  • Training intensities can be modified to adapt to your injury status.

  • Training can be gradually progressed safely back to your preinjury status.

  • Harmful exercises can be avoided or modified to an exercise that is suitable.

  • Rehabilitative exercises will speed up recovery and build strength to avoid reinjury

  • Training volume and recovery can be modified.

  • Continuing at the gym helps to keep you on track with your exercise goals and commit to your injury management exercises.

  • If you stop your regular exercise routine, it can have a negative effect on your total mental health and general life routine. Most of us need our regular hit of exercise so it is important to maintain that.

  • Correct movement of your body is essential to promote normal joint and muscle function.If you stop moving then it can lead to a break down in other areas of your body as well.This is important in long standing arthritic conditions as well as in acute injuries.

Possible modifications to exercise

  • Gradual warm up for all exercises. Start with a reduced training intensity (approximately 50% of your usual intensity) and monitor symptoms before progressing further.

  • Exercise intensity could be reduced to allow for greater control of technique and a much lower risk of harm.

  • Exercise selection can be modified to include exercises which are beneficial towards your injury and exclude exercises that have higher potential to cause harm.

  • Recovery periods can be extended (between sessions, exercises or sets) to allow adequate rest.

  • Training volume can be reduced to allow your current exercise capacity to cope with the demands of the exercise.

While appropriate modifications to exercise in the gym will lower the risk of further injury, it is still important to seek professional advice on your injury prior to returning to determine what is appropriate exercise so you can safely continue going.

How can the team of Physiotherapists at In Stride Health Clinic help me?

  • Our physiotherapists have at the AVLC to allow for specific and appropriate injury screening.

  • Our physiotherapists can perform a thorough assessment of your injury and around your goals and your rehabilitation.

  • We provide both one-on-one and in small groups.These allow for a safe exercise program and return to exercise. Your physiotherapist may go into the gym with you to demonstrate safe exercises, set up your program and check your technique.

  • Our physiotherapists have extensive knowledge in to promote a safe and effective exercise lifestyle.

Lewis Stolz is a physiotherapist who runs long distances and also uses the gym himself. Lewis uses the clinic rooms, the gym, pilates studio and hydrotherapy pools to treat and rehabilitate his clients. For more information about the services that we provide please come into the clinic in the AVLC, call us on 93728091 or go to

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