Being injured is the pits! It may feel like everything you worked towards will disappear. Trust me, I know what you are going through!
A couple years ago, I broke my right scapula (shoulder blade) and was stuck in a sling for 6 weeks. And recently, I had hip arthroscopic surgery and am very limited with what I can do with my core and lower body. So I fully understand what you may feel, and I am here to tell you that whether you have an upper or lower body injury, unless your doctor tells you otherwise, you can still exercise while your injury heals. (*Please note, if you are dealing with any heart or internal injuries, please refer to a doctor on what exercise you are allowed to do.)
For upper body injuries, you can do so many different type of exercises.
For cardio, walk or use the elliptical trainer (hold on if needed, using the uninjured arm).
For strength, do low impact lower body exercises (limit the jumping and jostling while healing from a break or surgery). So squats, lunges and any bodyweight glute, calf, and hamstring exercise. Maybe even try a single arm plank or pushup! When I was in the sling (and please note that I was very fit prior to my break), I was doing single arm burpees near the end of the 6 week period!
Core exercises that don’t involve weights or the upper body can be done. So reverse crunches, standing twists/reaches, crunch to feet, etc. Avoid any side plank or side crunch exercises!
For lower body injuries, it does depend on the injury itself.
Unfortunately with lower body exercises, cardio exercises will be limited. Walking, swimming or using a low impact machine, like the elliptical is a possibility. Or if weightbearing is not allowed, like in my case, cardio is out.
For strength, most upper body exercises are allowed. If standing is a struggle, sit down to do the upper body exercises. For an idea of a workout, refer to this resistance band upper body workout. If dealing with a hip injury, go light with the resistance so the hip flexor muscles are not triggered.
For core, it does also depends on the injury. If allowed, twisting exercises and a variety of crunch and bracing exercises are a good option. If dealing with a hip injury, then unfortunately there isn't a lot of core exercises to be done. If that is the case, just try and brace the absdominals when standing, walking, and doing upper body exercises.
Easier said than done, I know, but try not to be discouraged when recovering from an injury.. Regardless of the injury, there are still exercise options that can be done to stay active. Remember (and yes, I need to daily remind myself this right now too), be kind! Healing from an injury is important. This season of your (and my) life will pass and before we know it, wewill be able to hit the gym as hard as wewant (or as hard as our body will allow).
If you have any questions or want more exercises for a specific injury, feel free to email me: firstname.lastname@example.org