Marcus Dripps of the Australian Physiotherapy Association has suggested that prehabilitation rather than rehabilitation might be a better way of tackling injuries. We cannot predict if/where you’ll get injured but we do know that looking at your previous injury history can suggest areas that you may injure again. Assessing your movement quality and strength in both a general sense and in those areas that directly affect the injured area can help us identify ways we may help reduce the chance of these injuries happening. By doing this and taking a graded approach to improving your movement capacity we can increase the range of movement that you an safely express without injuring yourself.
By taking a graded approach to improving the range through which you can move we can provide positive feedback to the brain that the movement is safe and good for you to perform. This allows you to get comfortable with the movements and re-enforce good habits over bad ones, laying down the new, or re-learning the old ones, brain maps that govern our movements. As simple movements are mastered more complicated or demanding ones can be introduced. Using the rehab of ACL injuries as an example the process involves progressing from regaining control of movement at the knee to regaining the ability to shift the centre of mass to work in a single leg stance to lunges, then hopping, both in different planes, and on to more sports specific work. In a simpler example we might be trying to teach someone to squat again after years of being told it was bad for them and the process might begin with teaching unloaded box squats then on to free standing squats then perhaps goblet squats. Along with this we might work on lunges and lateral lunges to work the hip in a different motion and provide further stimulus in similar movement patterns and help teach how to control better control of the centre of mass as the body moves.
A great way of including more and varied movement into what you do would be to go along to a yoga class and learn how to perform some of the movements and then include the simpler ones in your daily routine. Use your warm up at the gym to add variety to the movements you perform and make your warm up more interesting at the same time. Whilst it does take time to make changes it doesn’t mean that you need to spend large amounts of time in order to make significant changes just an effort to do a little bit everyday.