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What to do when you're sidelined by an injury

Nothing is more frustrating than being on a roll workout wise--only to be sidetracked by aching muscles. For the past two weeks my left knee has been in pain (I finally figured out I needed new sneakers...and settled on a comfy pair by Saucony) so I held off on my morning runs. But while that didn't mean I couldn't do low-impact exercise like the elliptical, I have to be honest: I kind of took it to mean I should be on cardio hiatus. Not good. And now, two days after buying my new sneakers--with my knee, and my psyche, ready to get back on track--my lower back hurts (probably from lifting my 50-pound 5-year-old over the weekend). 'The worst thing you can do is do nothing,' our resident fitness expert, deputy editor, and certified personal trainer, Janet Lee, told me. She recommended I do the recumbent bike, walk on the treadmill, or do the elliptical (but not for a long time, being sure to quit if I feel pain). So this afternoon I'm heading to the gym on my lunch hour for at least 30 minutes of cardio. Then tonight, I'll rest it with an ice pack (no heat pack, which can aggravate the inflammation) and a bit of arnica cream (amazing stuff if you haven't used it before; I also use
this on my kids' many bruises).

One daily change: Listen to your body. If anything is bothering you, stop what you're doing and give the area some rest by switching up your workouts. More often than not, injuries in the gym occur when you're not doing an exercise right (check out our workout finder on our website for the right way to do moves) or when you're in need of new sneakers.


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