Some amount of exercise can help wounds heal.

When you have a wound, it’s likely that a lot of what you want to do is rest up and relax. This is a good impulse for most kinds of healing, and you’ll need to do plenty of it for your wound. However, research suggests exercise could help speed wound healing in otherwise healthy older adults.

The study

The results of this research were published in 2005 in the “Journal of Gerontology: Medical Sciences.” A team of researchers at The Ohio State University had 28 healthy older adults of an average age of 61 with significant wounds. Half were asked to undertake a program in which they exercised three times a week for three months, while the other half were told to continue not to exercise, as was normal for them. The exercise was not necessarily strenuous – only 10 minutes of warmup, followed by 30 minutes on a stationary bike, 15 minutes on a treadmill and 15 minutes of strength training capped off with a cool-down period.

The researchers found skin wounds healed an average of 10 days more quickly in those who exercised than in the group that did not.

“This is the first time we’ve been able to document this kind of enhancement associated with exercise,” Dr. Charles Emery, the lead author of the study, said in a release. “The findings from both studies indicate that the effect of exercise we found in the current study truly represents an enhanced rate of wound healing in older adults.”

What you can do

No matter your level of fitness today, you can improve it. Speak to your medical professional about ways to integrate exercise into your life that won’t hurt your wound or interfere with your wound care regimen. While you might not be up to the amount of exercise those in the study undertook, it is likely you can find some ways to make movement a part of your life. Even a brisk walk around the block may benefit you if it’s possible, and could change the course of your wound healing entirely.

Exercising with a wound means staying in close touch with your medical team to make sure you’re doing everything in a healthy manner, but it may make all the difference.

Advanced Tissue is the nation’s leader in delivering specialized wound care supplies to patients, delivering to both homes and long-term care facilities.