Suppose you have an injury on one body part (muscles or ligaments,...). Is there any scientific evidence that strength training the other (not injured) body parts speeds up the healing process of the injured part?

This may be perhaps the case because of changed hormone levels due to the strength training...

Please add your references to your answer.

  • Just a thought: it seems like any effect like this could be emulated almost perfectly by just using hormones. So it may aid you in your research if you looked into the use of hormones in recovery medicine. I would think that's a well covered area of medicine. – Tyler Dec 21 '14 at 23:58
  • @Tyler So your idea would be to make a two step search: First find out, which hormones (raised or lowered levels) have positive effects in injury recovery and then see in a second step, if those hormones are produced by strength training? – Sarah Dec 22 '14 at 9:33
  • When I wrote the comment, I was thinking the reverse, starting at the hormones known to be produced by strength training, and looking up the research on them in medicine. But I think the results should be equivalent, both ways. – Tyler Dec 22 '14 at 10:03

The best I could find was a 2005 study which focused on older adults. They haven't identified the actual components causing the associations, but the relationship is there:

Thus, the data are consistent with the notion that exercise may facilitate wound healing, in part, via neuroendocrine regulation.

There's the elaborate mix of hormones of course, but some of the ideas postulated are actually rather straight forward:

Also, exercise may contribute to blood flow to the skin and increased skin oxygen tension, thereby enhancing woundhealing rates.

That study of course looked at wound healing, but it doesn't seem like much of a stretch to imagine that the same factors aiding (and detracting) from wound healing would be in play with an injured muscle.

Not directly answering your question, but germane to it, is also the idea that people who are athletic generally pay more attention to their diet, have better physical awareness, and probably are doing better in areas like hydration. They're also less likely to be suffering chronic health conditions, which in turn decreases their chances for complications from injury and illness.

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