Is it better to rest completely or exercise gently while recovering from an injury? According to a study from the University of Wisconsin in Madison, it is better to exercise at low intensity while recovering from an injury or surgery. The researchers found that motion during recovery limits muscle atrophy, accelerates tendon healing, and prevents joint stiffness. This explains why most doctors refer their injured or post-surgical patients for physical therapy and rehabilitation exercises.
If you are in reasonable shape and stop exercising for any reason, your muscles become smaller and weaker and are at increased risk for injury when you return to exercising. Gentle stress on a muscle or tendon can help to prevent this loss of strength. Mild exercise is a stimulus for cell growth. However, if you pull too hard on a weakened muscle or tendon, you can tear it and delay recovery.