How to Get Motivated to Exercise After Being Injured

How to Get Motivated to Exercise After Being Injured

Your doctor will talk to you about how to physically get better after an injury, but few talk about the mental health challenges that come with it. Being injured takes a toll on the body and mind. The more you are aware of the physical and mental demands it takes, the easier it will be to cope.

Focus on What You Can Control

Now that you are injured, there is nothing you can do to go back. Focus on what you can do from here to help speed your recovery in a positive way. What changes do you need to make to better your quality of life while being injured? Would it be helpful to make your home more accessible? Both of these questions are things you can control and great first steps in coping with your injury.

Create Goals or Milestones

Goal setting is a great way to motivate yourself during your recovery. If you are working with a physical therapist, ask them for a couple of goals you can set to help keep you motivated throughout your journey.

Make small goals

Even the smallest milestones make the biggest difference in your mental health. Recognize when you have hit a goal, big or small, and find a way to reward yourself for hitting it. Was today the first time you completed a 15-minute workout? Reward yourself with a coffee or a treat after!

Make a Workout Buddy

Never underestimate the power of a friend! Having a workout partner can make all the difference in your motivation to work out. Even if they don't actually work out with you, having an accountability partner or someone you can share your success with helps motivate many of our patients. Don't have that friend yet? Try getting out of your comfort zone at physical therapy and ask if there are any people around your age that may be interested in being accountability partners with you!

Make Your Workouts Fun!

Working out does not have to be a miserable experience. You don't have to run a mile, lift heavy weights or join a cycling class. Find a movement you enjoy and stick with it, even if that is dancing to your favorite song in your bedroom! Any movement is good movement.

Alternative forms of working out

- Dancing to your favorite playlist

- Taking a quick walk on a nice day

- Playing with your kids or animals

- Cleaning or gardening- YES! This counts as a workout!

- Yoga (there are so many free classes on Youtube!)


If you are struggling mentally with your injury, it is important to seek the help of a licensed clinical therapist. Ask your doctor if they know of anyone you can talk to about how you are feeling, and they will be sure to get you in the right direction. Lowering stress and remaining positive make all the difference in your recovery. There is no shame in asking for help, and in fact, the most vulnerable people are also the most successful.

Cassie Whittaker Cassie is the Communications Coordinator for Elite Sports Medicine + Orthopedics. She has been writing and reviewing medical content since 2020.

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