When you experience a workout injury, it can be pretty devastating at first. All the work you’ve put into getting to your current fitness level could possibly be wasted. You think of weight gain scenarios and a less active lifestyle. You can feel the pain, the regret, and the frustration from getting injured but please do not dwell on what has happened. The great thing about getting an exercise injury is that you can always recover and get back to your workout, provided that the damage is nothing permanent. However, do not rush into the gym with high expectations; you have to accept the reality that you have been set back physically. Aside from this, there are other things you need to remember when returning to exercise after an injury.
1. Consult Your Doctor
When you are in recovery mode, you need to have regular consultations with your doctor. This is to ensure that you are right on track or that you are not doing anything that can worsen your injury. During the early stages of recovery, you should ask for supervision or guidance from a professional especially when it comes to performing certain stretches and exercises.
2. Understand the Injury
You have to understand what caused your injury in the first place. Was the injury a result of using the wrong gear? Was it caused by physical factors such as weak or undeveloped muscles, brittle bones, dehydration, or overused muscles? Look back and try to remember the activities you were doing when you got injured. Were you performing movements the wrong way? Was your form incorrect or were you exerting yourself too much? You can always ask your doctor to explain your injury if you cannot understand it by yourself.
3. Think of Recovery First
No matter how excited you are to start working out again, you should always think of recovery first. You need to take time to heal properly so that you don’t experience more setbacks. Remember that recovery time is not the same for everyone. It depends on things such as the severity of the injury, your body’s ability to recovery, and even your age.
4. Take Your Time
After an injury, it is important to let your body ease into doing physical activities. Start slow and don’t get overly enthusiastic. You also need to be realistic with your expectations. Don’t expect that you can immediately return to full activity or to your previous fitness level. You need to focus on rebuilding your strength and conditioning. This may take some time so you need to be patient.
5. Follow Treatment Plan
No matter how minor or major your injury is, you will always have a treatment plan. You need to follow the plan religiously to get the best results. Treatment plans can include M/RICE (mobilization/rest, ice, compression, and elevation), medications, the use of support bands, and even performing recovery exercises. If your doctor asks you to come in for check ups, then you need to show up so you can track your progress.
6. Reevaluate Your Workout Habits and Gear
Many exercise injuries can be prevented with the proper exercise habits and routines. You should always warm up before working out. You can stretch after the warm up but you should do the stretches properly. After working out, you should take time to cool down and stretch knotted muscles. Workout injuries can also be prevented by giving your body time to recover from intense exercise routines. You should also look into your eating habits and your hydration routine. Maybe you need to go through your workout gear and accessories to make sure that you are using the proper ones.
7. Listen to Your Body
During recovery, it is highly important that you know how to listen to your body. You have to know when to stop and when to continue with your exercise. You need to avoid exerting yourself too much because that really won’t speed up your progress. You need to learn to rest if you are tired and to slow down or stop if you feel pain. You also need to acknowledge limitations and accept what capabilities you currently have.
8. Plan Workouts
Once you can perform regular exercise, you need to learn how to create a workout schedule. The schedule can help you distribute your workouts throughout the week. You should also include full and active rest days to your schedule. Planning your workouts will help prevent over-exercising muscle groups, and even your entire body.
I personally know how an injury can stop you from doing the activities you love the most. Take it from me when I say that prematurely ending your recovery phase can lead to disaster rather than success. An injury has a way of coming back to haunt you if you don’t give it the attention and respect it deserves. Instead of looking at an injury as a case of bad luck, look at it as a lesson you can learn to improve your performance and exercise habits. Remember that when you sustain an injury, your life is not over. You can recover and get back to doing the things you love.
Top Photo Credit: United Way Ballarat