Whether this is a surprise to you or not, I am here to tell you that often no matter how “fit” people think you are or how careful you think you are being with your body, it is likely that at some point you will experience an injury.
Luckily or not luckily (I haven’t decided which yet) I have a lot of experience with a variety of types of injuries. From injuries out of my control to injuries that in hindsight I probably could’ve prevented. Currently, I am dealing with an injury that I probably could’ve prevented, but here we are. What is important now is how I deal with it. So, I am looking at this as a teaching moment to walk you through the process of what to do in the event that you do develop a physical injury.
As someone who is very vocal about the fact that I use exercise to help with my potential symptoms of anxiety, depression, and stress, it’s very hard for me to take the rest that I need to in order to let my body heal. Here are some tips and tricks for getting your body back in fighting shape after an injury!
Photo: Amber McdDonnell Photography
- REST- This is seriously the hardest part of getting injured for me. I love my routine, and I love to work out. It is honestly what keeps me going at my normal energizer bunny pace. Whenever I am told that I need to rest, initially it feels like there will be no end to my prolonged misery. But what I have learned is that if I do exactly what I am supposed to, I am often able to get back to what I want to do much more quickly and am able to perform much better. This is all about the long game.
- Fuel your body- Something that is often overlooked is the importance the nutrients have in the repair of muscles and body tissue. When you are doing all that you are supposed to do by letting your injury heal and resting, it can be hard to continue to fuel your body properly. It’s easy to think that if you aren’t working out you want to consume fewer calories, and that might be true, but it’s also important to make sure that you are eating nutrient-dense foods to help your body repair itself.
- Strengthen the injured area (If applicable)- A lot of injuries can result from over development of some muscles, and a relative weakness in their opposing muscle group. If your injury has to do with a relative weakness, make sure to gently work to balance out the muscle groups. This should be done with caution and I generally prefer low impact styles of exercise to do this. You don’t always have to use heavy weights (or even weights at all) to build strength. I have found that Pilates is really good for balancing out the body and preventing injury with that type of balance and strength.
- Stretch- As I talked about stretching in one of my very first blog posts, it’s still really important. That being said, it is possible to overstretch and lead to injury. It all depends on what caused you injury in the first place. This is a moment where I like to go by provider recommendations if a physical therapist or orthopedist tells you to stretch it’s definitely something to do!
- Take your time- I know getting back to normal life is one of your top priorities. It absolutely sucks to not be able to do what you want to do. However, chances are that if you jump back into it too quickly you will be right back where you were with the same injury. In fact, you could jeopardize future activities by being short-sighted about your current condition. How do I know this? Well, I’ve been there. The number of times that I have pushed through the pain instead of listening to my body is honestly too many to be counted. There are a few times that I shouldn’t have pushed through the pain and I might have let myself fully heal for better performance down the road. Did somebody tell me this? Absolutely. Did I listen? No, because I thought I was invincible. SPOILER: none of us are invincible.
- Listen to your body- This is something that I ALWAYS struggle with. People always told me that pain is the body’s way of telling you that something is wrong. For some reason, I have always struggled with listening to my body telling me that something is wrong. Athletes are often told to push through the pain, or that there is a certain amount of pain that is part of growth. I agree with that, but somewhere along the way, I stopped being able to tell the difference until I have gone past the point of a quick fix. So I am here to tell you that there is a point where your body is telling you to stop and the benefits you are getting from pushing diminish, leaving you with more cost than it’s worth.
Have any questions about injuries or how to cope with a change in routine? Let me know! I am always happy to answer any questions.