In physiotherapy we often talk about “load management”, especially when we are planning your return to normal activities. What do we mean when we use this turn of phrase?
Our bodies have a range of activity within which they can operate safely. This reflects your capacity for movement or activity and the type and intensity of the activity itself. Working beyond this range for short periods can increase tolerance and this is how training works—if we carefully “push” our bodies in a way that is safe, we get stronger, fitter or more flexible. Increasing the load too much or too quickly, however, can lead to injury. The management of load is important for all people undertaking regular activity, whether that’s walking, sport, or gardening.
How do you track load?
We can track the body’s reaction to load by monitoring strength, muscle soreness, recovery time or through the use of technology such as pedometers. This allows progression of activity safely.
Why is load management important after injury?
After a period of time off due to injury or illness it is important that your return to activity is planned and gradual. The longer you have been unable to exercise or participate in your activity, the longer this period is and the more gradual this will need to be. This is particularly important coming in to spring when most people have been less active over the winter months and have a sudden increase in activity.
Your physiotherapist can assist you in returning to normal following injury by planning your activities to ensure it is safe, sustainable and helps you achieve your goals.