Maybe it’s an injury or illness that takes months to overcome. Perhaps you’re bedridden (or unmotivated) due to a medical condition. Perhaps the reason it keeps going on and on—or keeps going on today—is simple neglect and apathy. Or perhaps you read my most recent post about reclaiming your health as you age and want to get back on the path to vigor. Almost everyone will be required to rebuild their health and strength after a prolonged period of inactivity for various reasons. But there’s a wrong way and a right way to do it.
How to resume exercise and strength after a protracted period of bed rest will be covered in the article that comes after this one. We think it will be beneficial to you.
Why Do You Need Regain Strength After Bed Rest?
Long stretches of rest, sleep, and inactivity is involved in bed rest. Your body might suffer as a result. Your musculoskeletal system can become weaker as a result of bed rest, among other things. Unused muscles start to atrophy, and the effects can be felt all the way from your heart to your thighs and calves.
Lung capacity, bone density, and joints may also be negatively impacted. If you are immobile for long periods of time, you could develop bedsores.
Recovery of Physical Strength
Being active is one of the best ways to start recovering from bed rest. Get moving in any way you can. Don’t push yourself too hard; you can begin with short walks around your house until you feel ready for more activity.
Try targeted exercises for regaining strength if you need to rehab only a few parts of your body. Bodyweight exercises can help with leg muscles, while simple dumbbell activities can help you regain arm strength. Ensure that your diet is nutrient-rich and contains a sufficient amount of protein. Discuss with your doctor how you can improve your daily diet to give your body the energy it requires to heal.
Recovery of the Mental
Beyond just your physical health, a hospital visit has an impact. You may experience mental fatigue as a result of the stress and fatigue brought on by complicated health issues. You should take your mental toughness into account when formulating a plan to regain your strength. Mental wellness can be negatively impacted by isolation, stress, and boredom, which are all possible results of prolonged bed rest. Ensure that you are getting enough sleep to enhance your mental health.
Contact your loved ones and friends, and maintain contact as you recover. Feelings of depression may result from isolation. As you recover, staying in touch with the people you care about will make you feel less alone and more supported.
How to Regain Strength After Bed Rest?
Here are some tips for doing it the right way:
Do Your Best
Isometric contractions during bed rest (only if your doctor approves, mind you). When getting off the couch with your good leg, squat down on just that one leg. With the remaining arm, perform bicep curls. Get moving in any way you can.
While it’s definitely “better” to train your entire body, training just a single body part or limb is better than doing nothing. Your body receives a signal letting it know you’re still committed and in need of your expensive-to-metabolize muscle mass.
The need for protein increases with inactivity. Your protein metabolism changes when you’re on bed rest, whether it’s required or voluntary. It becomes more inefficient and requires more substrate to produce the same effect. Simply maintaining your daily maintenance requires more protein. Plus, since you’re actively healing and recovering and laying down or repairing tissue, you need extra protein to handle the extra processes.
While preparing for your return to activity, consume a sufficient 1 gram of protein per pound of lean body mass. Whey isolate is a simple protein additive source that has been shown to speed up recovery from surgery and bed rest. Take this into consideration.
Standing on one foot while slowly sweeping the opposite foot across in front of and behind you is a simple technique for increasing balance (or simply getting more at ease in unsteady positions). Every day for a few minutes, change your feet and do this. You can also do this whenever you have free time, like while waiting in line.
You can also purchase a 2×4 from the hardware store, lay it on the ground, and practice walking forward and backward along it. Without running the risk of falling to your doom, you can benefit from balancing on a small surface.
Regular walking is a powerful signal of “abundance” to your body. It signals to your body that you are still active and out of bed, that you are involved in life and have places to be, and that you are still in the game. In addition, walking is the most basic and basic way to stimulate your musculoskeletal system, get your blood pumping, and lubricate your joints. Almost everyone is able to walk.
If you have access to hills, even better. Walk as frequently as you can up and down hills. You can legitimately increase your strength and stamina by taking a brisk uphill walk. Work your way up to five 30- to 45-minute sessions per week. Put on a weighted vest or stuff some books into your backpack to increase resistance.
Do Bear Crawls
Your joints will be greatly loosened up by slow bear crawls, which will also prime your shoulders and hips for more difficult, weighted movements. After being in bed, reduce your torso’s stiffness. They’re actually a good exercise in their own right, especially if you haven’t done them since you were a baby.
Do these a few times per week, preferably in the morning or before working out. Crawl in a controlled manner, feeling each movement as you go forward, backward, and sideways.
Learn the Difference Between Pain and Soreness
You want to avoid pain when getting back into exercise after an injury or just starting out again. These are not acceptable: a pulled muscle, strains in the tendons that you feel for days after, and acute joint pain.
You should, however, expect to feel uncomfortable. It’s okay to feel sore after a workout. It’s normal. Burning in the muscle during a session is fine. The opposite of normal is pain. Avoid pain
Improve Bodyweight Exercises
The fundamental exercises are knee flexion (squat, lunge, split squat), hip hinge (deadlift, kettlebell swing, trap bar DL), push (pushup, overhead press, dip), and pull (pullup, chin up, row variations). Almost all of them can be performed using only your body weight; the hip hinge, however, is extremely difficult to perform without the use of external weights.
Grab the Primal Blueprint Fitness ebook. It’s free and offers a step-by-step progression for all the exercises, from a complete beginner performing wall pushups and assisted pull-ups to an expert lifter performing feet elevated pushups and weighted pull-ups.
Consider Finishing With Bodyweight Exercises
For most people, bodyweight exercises are completely sufficient. Your willingness to put in the necessary time and effort will determine how successful you are. In fact, I argued in this post that you could develop incredible strength and general fitness using only bodyweight exercises and some weighted resistance for the lower body (like, say, the trap bar deadlift and its many variations, which just so happens to be my new favorite exercise).
It’s difficult to try to get back into an exercise routine and build strength after a protracted period of bed rest. An effective diet plan will help you achieve your goals faster. Efforts must be made on both mental and physical levels.