I got a stress fracture in track a few months ago. Although the pain is practically all gone, my doctor said that I have to refrain from strenuous activity for a few more months. I was wondering what activities or exercises I could do so I can still stay in shape and be running again soon.
Don’t worry, there is a lot you can do to stay in shape while letting your stress fracture heal. First and foremost, listen to the advice of your doctor. Your injury must heal completely or this can become a chronic problem.
Many athletes that are injured rehabilitate by using a water exercise program. Because the buoyancy of the water reduces the “weight” of a person by 90%, you dramatically lower the stress on your injured area as well. Water exercises can help you maintain your cardiovascular fitness and muscular strength and endurance, and it can even make you more flexible.
Besides swimming laps, you can also mimic jogging or running in the deep end of the pool if you use a buoyancy belt for flotation. Try doing a track interval workout by “water running” in the deep end for 30 seconds and then recover for 30 seconds while you gently tread water.
To keep your upper body strong, use the resistance of the water. One good exercise is to cup your hands and do a “push/pull” action in the water for 10-15 reps. Rest and repeat at least 3 times.
If you are consistent with your water workouts, you’ll be amazed at how fit you will stay while on your way to recovery. You may also notice that your muscles and joints get more flexible which will help in preventing future injuries!