Teesside Wellbeing - Exercise

Recovery from an injury to one side of the body

When we find that we are injured and that injury is on one side of our body, it may seem the correct thing to do is to completely rest the injury until it is recovered. It turns out this is not the best way to recover. So to look in to this a bit more it is important that the injury is protected but if possible the injured side of the body should be exercised regularly, this is because the brain and the nervous system is always changing or showing plasticity and if we teach it not to use one side of the body this will over time result in the injured side to some extent lose functionality.

The brain holds a map of both sides of the body and we are trying to stop the non injured side becoming over dominant  as this may be difficult to put right after we have recoverved from the injury. It is important not to over compensate for the injury, so you may be advised to do dedicated exercises for the injury,  in a controlled plan provided you are not in pain when doing so.

I credit The Huberman Lab podcast for much of this information.

When is the best time to Exercise?

There are 2 forms of exercise I will talk about cardiovascular which is repeating a movement for a long time like running rowing or swimming. Then there is resistance exercise, lifting heavy weights that you could not do without a rest for more than about 30 minutes.

When to do this exercise is a personal thing but there is some evidence that the bodies core temperature can be in an optimal range at particular times of the day for performance and the prevention of injury. These will tend to be 30 minutes after waking, 3 hours after waking that may correlate with the rise in body temperature and 11 hours after waking when the body temperature will tend to peak. This time schedule is more something to think about than hard and fast rules. Exercise when you can is good advice.

Working out first thing in the morning will after a few days, set your body to anticipate exercise at that time. You then want to wake up at the same time each day. If you add light exposure first thing in the morning the exercise and light will really wake you up and set you in an alert status for the morning.

Intense exercise before going to bed can stop you going to sleep but less intense exercise will not have that effect. If you find that you wake up in the morning not feeling rested it is possible that the intensity of the exercise in the previous day was too high. If you feel sleepy all the time the volume of training may be too high.

I credit The Huberman Lab podcast for much of this information.