7 Tips for Recovering from Injury
Getting physically injured is tough, especially for active people and athletes. Injuries mean lost time at the gym, sitting out of competition, changing the way you live your life and feeling depressed and isolated. Believe it or not, the challenges that come from recovery can actually inspire improvement. Incorporating these tips into your recovery will help you return to your workouts physically and mentally strong.
Hurting and suffering an injury are very different. “You know you are injured when the pain you sustained is constant or worsening,” says Aaron Wexler, NASM CPT. “Pain is the first sign that something in your body’s kinetic chain is not right. You can walk off being sore, but you should not walk off real pain.” See your doctor so that you can know exactly what you are dealing with, and know that you have a correct, recommended course of action.
UNDERSTAND WHAT HAPPENED
How did you get injured? Understanding what happened will be key to your rehab plan so you can avoid further injury. Knowing what went wrong will also help you mentally, as getting injured can really impact your confidence level.
Work with your doctor on an exercise-based rehab program. A physical therapist or personal trainer can also help correct bad movement patterns and muscle imbalances in order to prevent further injuries and help you work through the injury.
FUEL YOUR BODY
A nutrient-packed diet and adequate hydration are key during recovery. Adding a supplement like glutamine or MSM and chondroitin may also help rebuild joints. Getting the right nutrition can have a powerful effect on reducing pain, minimizing inflammation and promoting fast healing. Stay away from alcohol, sugar, and white flour.
EAT MORE PROTEIN
Don’t make the mistake of thinking that since you are not training at the same level, that you don’t need as much protein. Consuming high protein foods like lean meats, fish, eggs, whey protein and dairy will activate protein synthesis pathways in the body, which will help avoid muscle loss and promote tissue remodeling for a faster recovery.
FOCUS ON AN ACTIVE RECOVERY
For many years it was prescribed that someone rest to recover from an injury. Now the focus has shifted to incorporating an active recovery. The most important type of active recovery is general light physical activity. Continue to move, even if it is at a modified level. Walking, working out in the water, or gentle yoga are all ways to stay active while you recover from an injury. Continue your prescribed rehab plan for a few weeks after you feel back to normal. This will help you continue to build strength. Focus on stabilization, core, and flexibility exercises after rehab.
HAVE A SUPPORT SYSTEM
Some injuries can require that you have extra help with household chores, driving, etc. Serious injuries can also be depressing and isolating. Be sure to have people around you that you can talk to about your discouragement, who make you leave your house and go to lunch! Being around positive, uplifting people and getting out of your head can go a long way in promoting a healthy recovery.