We know our members love to push themselves mentally and physically. And for people who expect a lot from their body, it can be hard to deal with an unforeseen injury. Especially if that injury forces them to take a step back from any kind of physical activity that brings them joy and keeps them healthy.
Does that sound like you? It’s crucial to find a way to exercise even after an injury puts you on the sideline for a period of time. After all, people aren’t dying of shoulder pain, hip pain or strained muscles. (Even though it may feel like it.) They’re dying of chronic disease, obesity and other conditions that can be avoided through healthy lifestyle habits, like working out.
Takeaway: Staying active and maintaining strength while healing musculoskeletal injuries helps increase your quality of life and fight chronic disease.
Is the training I’m doing bad? Do I need to cut back on certain exercises? How do I modify my training to accommodate the injury? Am I going to lose all the progress and momentum I’ve made? These are all common questions that can make their way into any injured athlete’s head. Read on for tips on how to safely and actively recover through your next injury.
#1 Don’t slow down, change lanes (focus your energy in new areas)
We recently listened to a wonderful podcast episode by Dr. Jeff Moore called “Don’t slow down, change lanes.” Dr. Moore is a physical therapist, and lead instructor and CEO at the Institute of Clinical Excellence (ICE). In his podcast, Dr. Moore talks about managing injuries that athletes get during training, and how it can be challenging to accept the reality that they aren’t able to perform a certain movement during recovery. However, if they approach their injury not as a road block, but an opportunity to focus on something else, they‘ll come out the other side stronger and more prepared than before their injury.
Takeaway: If you get injured, think about other areas of your training you may have neglected and put your energy there.
#2 Have a plan to modify your workout routine
One common issue Dr. Matt and I often see is people who get injured after starting a new style of exercise. And because they associate that exercise with injury and pain, they take one of three paths:
1. They continue that workout and put up with the pain (not recommended)
2. They stop going to workouts all together (still not recommended)
3. They continue to go to their classes or perform their workouts while avoiding that specific activity or movement (best option)
For those who choose the third path, their recovery can go two ways. Their pain goes away and they gradually return to the movement that caused the initial injury. Or, they reach a plateau and continue to avoid that movement because it causes pain or discomfort. If that second situation sounds like you, it’s important to talk with a qualified medical provider (like us) to get you back on track for progress.
Takeaway: Approach your recovery with a well-thought-out plan. If you need help coming up with a recovery plan, work with your coach or a qualified healthcare provider.
#3 Some progress is better than no progress
One thing we preach to all our members, whether we’re seeing them for wellness services, nutrition, or physical therapy and rehabilitation, is to not let perfect get in the way of good. This can apply to so many things. Don’t hold yourself to perfect standards or get hung up on what everyone else is doing. On days you don’t feel 100%, focus on your quality of movement and higher repetitions of accessory movements to keep your recovery moving forward. Progress is a steady improvement over time that takes patience and dedication — and it looks different for everyone.
Takeaway: Don’t let perfection get in the way of good. Some progress outweighs no progress. The key to success is consistency.
Remember, injuries happen. And when they do, it’s important to be mentally and physically prepared so you can continue to be safe and active while you recover. Don’t know where to start on your journey to recovery? Stop by for a free in-person consultation.
Thanks for reading!