An injury is never an ideal situation when trying to incorporate a healthy lifestyle.(Unless of course it's gets your family to help with the chores!). Joking aside, any kind of injury can put a real downer on your fitness goals.
But don’t lose hope!
You can still take healthy measures to shorten recovery time and stay in shape.
If you're someone who exercises often, you've likely experienced an injury at some point. Whether it's caused by overexerting yourself during a workout or by an unlucky accident outside the gym, it's zero fun to give up something that makes you feel so good. Trust me, I know!
What you may not realize is that dealing with an injury affects you just as much mentally as it does physically. Whether you have to take two days or two months off from your usual
schedule, it's important to prioritize both during your recovery. If you are like me you may have dealt with an injury and thought all progress is lost. Your mind starts to say “You’ll never reach your goals” and thus the mental spiral begins. Of course the physical aspects of taking time off is tough but the emotional aspect of feeling sidelined can be the biggest challenge.
All of that said, having a plan for when you need to take some time off can
make your life a lot easier. Here's what we at Sophrosyne Health recommend doing to care
for both your mental and physical health when you're dealing with an injury.
#1 Mentally accept that you may need to take some time off or have a
different approach to your training that is temporary
Missing a workout or two is a bummer, but it's important to remind yourself that it's not
the end of the world. Focus on staying positive and make adjustments where you
can. Telling yourself something like, "It's temporary, I can still reach my goals" or
"I'm still strong" can go a long way toward putting things in perspective. Create a space each day to say these positive affirmations to yourself out loud. This will have a massive impact on how much or how little you suffer mentally while recovering from injury.
Mental health is equally as important as physical health.
You can do something every day to work toward rehabilitation.
Recovery is important.
#2 Create a plan for the time you are in recovery
Use the time productively to plan how you can still be active. Don’t stay in one place. Even if you feel frustrated that you can’t partake in your favorite exercises or your previous routine, make sure you’re not staying sedentary. Find ways to stay as active as possible with the injury you have. Get creative with your routine.
Having this down time can be a great opportunity to cross-train. Use this time to train a specific weakness or skill that will help with overall performance goals that you may otherwise overlook during your regular periods of training before the injury. Dare I say, training these weakness could potentially prevent future injury.
Example: If you've injured your wrist, maybe now is a good time to do some
cardio workouts you wouldn't normally make time for. Or if you're a runner
with a sprained ankle, you could work on upper body and core
strength. Whatever you decide to do, it's critical to set specific and achievable
goals ( SMART goals) to stay focused and motivated.
#3 Fix the Root Problem
If you're in so much pain that you are forced to take time off for an injury, it usually means your body is trying to tell you something. It’s important to understand that you can't build strength on an injury. Without proper healing time you could cause more damage. Never ignore pain. Ever.
Pain is the way your body communicates that something is wrong. Provided
you don't have a traumatic injury like a broken bone or open wound, pain that's
preventing you from working out usually means your body has been compensating
for weakness. You should not just focus on the pain, but rather on addressing the
cause of the pain.
Some ways to go about rehabbing an injury can include:
Myofascial release through foam rolling, a lacrosse ball or tennis ball
on tender areas, and doing gentle exercises that avoid the injured area.
Treating with ice to reduce inflammation (only at time of initial injury)
Performing stretches for specific injury.
Seeking out a physical therapist
Work on mobility training to prevent/reduce further risk of an injury.
Rehabbing an injury on your own can be overwhelming. You may not know exactly what or where the injury is and how to fix it. It is always advised to seek out professional help especially if you are unsure what to do. Google is not your best friend in this situation unless you already have experience and knowledge in anatomy/physiology. One last thing to note is if you experience injury often. Is it because you are not properly nourishing yourself for your workouts? Are you workouts too intense? Perhaps your technique is not proficient which leads to the wrong muscle groups having to compensate for certain movements. IF you are ever unclear on the cause, we are always here to give you a free consultation and come up with a plan on how to prevent further injuries. You can schedule your free call here.