From professional athletes to dedicated gym goers and occasional movers, most of us will get injured at some point. This could be a mild sprain or a more serious injury requiring medical intervention or even surgery. But whatever your fitness level. And whatever your injury level. Getting hurt sucks. Not only physically but also mentally. If working out is a big part of who you are, being told to stop suddenly can create mental roadblocks as well as setting you back on your fitness journey.
This all means that it’s important to approach injury and recovery in the right way. First by trying to prevent it wherever possible and then by taking small, sensible steps on the road to recovery. Trying to be a hero and ‘push through’ pain or injury is never the answer. Instead, you need to go slow and treat your body with the kindness it deserves. So, get smart when it comes to recovery with my 5 golden rules.
The first golden rule of injuries is to reduce the risk of them happening to you. This means following a proper warm up, getting advice and guidance from a professional trainer and never pushing yourself to the point of pain. Some injuries are unavoidable, many aren’t. Make sure you give your body a fighting chance of staying fit.
Ouch. You’re injured. What now? Well for all but the most minor injuries, now is the time to report what has happened and get some expert advice. This could mean a trip to the GP, physio or in more serious cases, to the hospital. Find out exactly what has happened to your body and listen carefully to medical advice on what to do next.
Most injuries require some level of rest and this can be extremely frustrating for fitness-minded folks. Trust your health expert and make sure you give your body the time it needs to heal. Jumping back into a routine too early or pushing through pain signals is going to at best set back your recovery and at worst serve you up a must worst injury. Embrace rest and listen to your body.
Ok, so most injuries require some form of rehab. This could mean massage, gentle movement, foam rolling or some type of physio. Follow your rehab programme carefully, bringing the impacted area back into use over time. Slow and steady is the key here. Gradually reintroducing movement and resistance to gently build back strength and flexibility.
Just because you have suffered an injury doesn’t mean you have to set fire to your training schedule. If possible, think about activities that you can do to support and complement your recovery. These may be low impact activities like walking and swimming or simply focusing on a different body part. A strained shoulder could mean you instead focus on your lower body, albeit at a lower impact that you would usually choose.
Finally, don’t neglect the emotional and mental impact of an injury. And take some mindful time to centre and reset. A positive, caring mindset will support every stage of your recovery. Injury isn’t failure. You will come back stronger. Trust in the process and cut yourself some slack. You got this!
I hope you are all injury free and enjoying these long summer days but if you do have a strain or a more serious injury, look after yourself. I will be looking at recovery again next week, this time at the nutrition that can help your body heal. Until then keep doing your thing. You are amazing!