Sustaining and injury is never pleasant no matter how minor the injury is. Anything that stops us from doing what we enjoy is frustrating. Unfortunately, injuries are common for anyone participating in sport or training in the gym. Being injured can often lower motivation and they can derail progress. However, this doesn’t have to be the case, here’s 4 quick tips that may help coping with injuries…
Injury tip #1: Time heals all
The first lesson I learnt when handling my recent injury was to give it time. From the outset I realised that I would have an extended time away from regular training. Funnily enough, once I accepted this I felt much better about things. We all heal at different rates and our body parts heal at different rates.
One person may recover faster than you do from the same injury. Similarly, your body may react differently to different injuries.
Therefore, it helps to remember that we need to give our bodies time. However bad the injury, it is generally a result of excessive stress being put on the body. Therefore to heal from this our bodies need to put a huge amount of effort into doing so. Giving our bodies time to recover and heal properly will see the best recovery rates.
It can be frustrating to see others progressing quicker than you are. Looking to others with a similar injury has its upside. You get to see what may help speed up recovery or make the injury less restrictive. However, if we’re not careful it can also make us feel as though we are falling behind. This isn’t the case and understanding that, at some point you will recover helps massively.
So, accept that some time off may be needed but understand this isn’t necessarily a bad thing. This is your body healing and taking this time is essential to recovering fully.
Injury tip #2: Look for the silver lining
Due to the nature of sustaining an injury, our first thought is normally how bad recovery will be. It’s very easy to fall into a negative attitude and see the downside an injury may have. This is perfectly understandable, realising you may be out of action for a while is demoralising. However, I found that it’s possible to find some upsides to an injury.
An injury can allow you to focus on some areas of training or, more importantly life, that you didn’t before. Nerd Fitness also discusses this in their post. Some injuries may be bad enough to stop training all together for some time. If this is the case, I found using that time to work on other things (like this blog), or visit new places helps. Mixing a routine up every now and then is always useful. So, if this is forced why not make the most out of it and enjoy aspects of life you wouldn’t normally have time to enjoy. This not only helps take your mind off the injury but also keeps you motivated and provides you with something to look forward to and enjoy.
Depending on what you have injured, you may be able to put some effort into your training. Get creative with this! Being injured can force honesty. If you can only focus on certain ways and/or body parts to train, you soon find weaknesses. Sustaining an injury can allow you to put all of your effort into improving those weaknesses. Therefore, when you return you will be stronger than ever.
Injury tip #3: Do what you can
Probably the most beneficial lesson I’ve learnt is to do what I can whilst having an injury. GymBox also mention this in their post about returning from injury. There are a few good reason for this. If you see a physiotherapist they will make sure you are working the injured body part as much as possible.
This promotes blood-flow to the injured area and provided you don’t push too hard, this helps recovery. Not only this but, with joint injuries especially, movement can help free up any swelling or fluid.
This doesn’t have to be limited to exercise. If the injury is bad enough exercise will likely be off the table as it is. So, getting up and out will work wonders. Obviously if anything aggravates your injured body part or puts undue stress on it back off a little bit. However, it is so important to not just give up and get complacent. I can’t stress how much that helped me in recovery.
Besides the obvious physical benefits getting up and finding out what your limits are, it also helps mentally. Even if you didn’t have an injury, doing nothing would take its toll on your mental state. This is even more relevant if you were highly active pre-injury. Wallowing in your own self-pity won’t do any good and will only make you see the downside to being injured even more.
Try to get up and about, train what you can and where you can. Don’t overdo anything if it causes you pain, adaptation is key. More than anything just try not to get lazy!
Injury tip #4: Set goals
Finally, setting new goals during a period of injury is a great tool to help motivation. It can even tie into tip #3 with activity based goals. The majority of us set goals normaly, therefore this shouldn’t stop just because we are injured. Goals serve a purpose, they give us something to work towards and we need this more than ever when recovering from an injury.
I found that my goals were very different to what they are normally. They have been scaled back and adapted just like my exercise was, however I made sure they still existed.
Nerd Fitness again highlights this in one of the points in this post. Similar to the point I mentioned in tip #3, setting yourself goals can also help you mentally. I found they stopped me from feeling lost and gave me a grasp of timescales and kept me motivated.
Keeping the goals realistic and within your capability is essential. I initially over estimated what I would be capable of and like any other time I fall short of a goal, it made me feel like I was behind. I found putting your ego to one side is key and setting manageable goals works.
Doing this also allows you to progress past your goals faster. It feels great to achieve a goal and this is even more relevant when working through an injury. So try to set realistic and achievable goals. I found these will need to be evaluated quickly as you heal and get back to fitness. However, when has hitting goals ever been a bad thing!