30 Nov What do you do when you have an injury?
Almost every person I train is carrying some sort of injury. Whether it be physical or mental, it is important to recognise your limitations and how this may affect your training.
However you don’t want an injury or issue stopping you from training completely so here are the top 5 things to do when you have an injury but you still want to stay healthy and active.
1. Get the all clear
If you do have any issues such as heart disease, diabetes, knee injuries, the first point of call should be to see a doctor to get the green light.
In fact you may want to also see a physio as they can give you more information about your injury and provide you with exercises to help strengthen or heal the area (actually a good physio should work with the personal trainer in putting together an exercise routine that is best for the client).
Be sure to follow your doctor or physio’s recommendations on when you can start training, how hard to push yourself, what types of exercises are best and the type of rehab you should be doing.
2. Focus on other areas of your body
Sometimes you have to come up with new and creative ways to work muscle groups during an injury period. The important thing is to protect the injured area until it is fully healed, while training the rest of your body as normal.
If you have shoulder problems, then do a circuit where there is more emphasis on your lower body. If you have knee issues, see if alternative exercises for the same muscle group cause any issues or focus more on your upper body. Just listen to your body – it will tell you if it is right or not.
3. Warm up properly and have a good stretch afterwards
Though it is tempting to get straight into your workout, a proper warm up is critical before you get down to business. If you start exercising at a strenuous level without a warm-up, your body will be ill-prepared for the higher demands being made of it, which may cause injury and unnecessary fatigue.
I always get frustrated when people leave my class before we do a cool down – and I admit in my younger days, I would always skip any stretching. But as I got older, I found I always needed to stretch so my muscles would be less sore, I had more flexibility and more importantly, I would minimise the chance of hurting myself.
4. Don’t forget your nutrition
Healing from an injury can take weeks or even months, but you can dramatically accelerate the healing process by getting good nutrition and maintaining a healthy lifestyle.
Healing is largely dependent on blood supply, and the stronger the blood supply, the faster you can heal because blood supplies the injured area with important oxygen and nutrients which help repair the injury. Certain foods can promote inflammation within the body while others have an anti-inflammatory effect.
Be sure to drink plenty of fresh juices made from fresh, organic, raw veggies, because raw veggies are high in important enzymes and vitamins that can speed up the healing process.
5. Learn when to say enough
It is very important to know the difference between a real injury and pain.
During a workout, you may tweak something and experience pain. Your initial reaction might be, “Ouch … but OK, I’ll tough it out.” If you have pain, stop working out right there and evaluate your symptoms to check the severity. Don’t just try to walk it out and hope for the best.
I know many people (including me) hate going to the doctor because they believe their injury may miraculously disappear the next day, but resting when injured is critical because you protect the injured tendon, ligament, and muscle from further injury and damage. Developing a long term injury just isn’t worth it. If you are in serious pain, put your training on hold.
And try to stay positive…
Let’s face it injuries are so damn frustrating, but by maintaining a positive, upbeat attitude when injured or rehabbing can help speed up the healing process.
So instead of looking at your injury as bad luck, or as an obstacle, think of it as an opportunity to work on and improve a weaker body part while the injured parts get better.
It always pays to look on the bright side, so even if you are injured, stay positive and you can still make progress.