If an injury happens use our plan of action to keep your head positive and your body healing.
It’s not all or nothing
Injuries tend to happen when we are at our peak – we haven’t missed a training session in months and we are chalking up personal bests. It’s frustrating and the idea of doing a half-hearted training session seems unpalatable. However, remember you are keeping the habit, preventing the rest of your body deconditioning and safe guarding your mental wellbeing. It might not be 100% but 60% is a lot more than 0% – it does count.
Seek professional help
Find out the exact nature of your injury so you start the correct treatment, right away. If you don’t really know what the injury is you could do more damage to it. And if you don’t know the right treatment or when to start rehabilitation exercises, you could delay your recovery. We have a much more active approach to recovery these days, with many injuries only needing a short period of total rest – you might get a nice surprise as to when you can be back in action.
Look for alternative exercises
You may have your set routine but think outside the square. If you need to reduce impact you can change to cycling, swimming or seated weight training exercises. If you have an upper body injury you could focus on lower body, or vice versa. There is always something you can do.
The benefit of muscle memory
It can feel like you are losing all your strength and fitness gains. But remember you will regain the level of strength or fitness you had much faster than it took to achieve it the first time because your muscles are repeating something they have already done. This is the wonder of muscle memory.
Take it step by step
Don’t rush your recovery and risk setting yourself back. 80% of the healing process takes place fairly quickly and this allows you to return to most things in life. But the last 20% that is required for higher levels of sports performance takes a little while. You don’t want to put yourself back at square one because of impatience.
The input output balance
If you are burning less calories through exercise because you can’t train as intensely as you usually do, take a look at the other side of the scales. Lowering your calorie intake slightly can prevent unwanted weight gain during a period of reduced activity. Also making sure everything you eat is full of nutrients to aid the healing process is another way to refocus your desire to take care or your body.
The mental physical connection
Chances are whether it is conscious or unconscious you do exercise to achieve a mental boost as well as a physical one. A reduction in your exercise schedule could leave you with a higher level of negative emotions – like low moods, feeling anxious and less self esteem. Make sure you find other ways to reduce tension and lift your mood during the recovery period.
Review your workouts
It is always worth a look at why an injury occurred. If you tripped over a tennis ball there is not much you can do to change that. But double check and seek guidance from a professional if needed, to see if your injury was caused by a poor exercise technique or muscle imbalance – do you have a weak, tight or over used muscle that left you vulnerable? Do you rest enough for your muscles to recover? A review and a revamp of your fitness plan could set you into a new phase of training.
What is your injury survival tip?
By Rachel Livingstone Personal Trainer & Owner of The Health Hub www.healthhub.net.au
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