Bruised ribs may make it difficult for you to participate in your regular exercise routine. Your 24 ribs serve to protect your vital organs and are also interconnected with the spinal cord and breast bone. As a result, bruised ribs can affect the way your entire body functions. Exercising with bruised ribs is generally completed on an as-tolerated basis. However, certain exercises will have less of an impact on your body.
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Deep breathing exercises can help you restore flexibility to your ribs and maintain proper lung function as your ribs heal. Sit or stand up with your back straight. Take a deep breath. Breathe as deep as possible without causing pain to your ribs. Exhale and relax for a few seconds. Repeat this deep breathing exercise five times.
Shoulder Blade Squeeze
A shoulder blade squeeze can help to strengthen your ribs and increase flexibility in your rib cage. Stand or sit and your back as straight as possible with your shoulders relaxed. Gently push your shoulder blades back so that you are squeezing your shoulder blades together. Squeeze them as close together as possible without causing yourself any pain. Hold this position for a couple seconds. Relax and repeat 10 times.
Low Impact Exercises
Depending on the severity of your bruised ribs, you may be able to participate in low impact exercises. You should only participate in these exercises if you have permission from your doctor. Low impact exercises are designed to give you the benefit of a complete cardiovascular workout while placing minimal impact on your joints. Swimming, walking, using an elliptical machine and cycling are examples of low impact exercise. The buoyancy of water allows you to perform many exercises in water that would otherwise be painful on land. You can try swimming or just walking in water that is up to your shoulders. Walking on dry land is also low impact and can help to keep you active while recovering. The gliding motion of an elliptical machine is designed to give you a total body workout with placing stress on your body. Cycling can help to strengthen your lower body as well as your overall endurance.
Exercises to Avoid
Rib bruises usually occur as the result of stress or a direct blow to your chest. Rib cruises are most common in contact sports including football and hockey. You should avoid participation in the sport or activity that caused your injury until told otherwise by your doctor. Exercises that are completed lying on your side should also be avoided -- such as hip extensions. Any exercises completed while lying on your chest or that may place stress on your chest -- such as weightlifting -- should be avoided until you are pain free and cleared by your physician.
- "NASM: Essentials of Personal Fitness Training"; National Academy of Sports Medicine; 2008
- PhysioAdvisor.com: Rib Fracture