How to Bounce Back From An Injury
Injuries suck--but they happen. How do you recover from an injury that takes you out of the gym for a few days or a few weeks?
Following up to last week’s article on recovering from a tough or new routine, we've compiled some of our best tips on overcoming an injury so you can get back at it.
Prevention is Better Than A Cure
Avoiding injury obviously better than recovering from one. Make sure to include proper mobility work in each of your sessions may help avoid injury. By improving your mobility, you will reduce your body’s asymmetries and compensations, leading to a more balanced muscle structure. With poor mobility and stability, you will create further dysfunction in your body leading to an increased chance of injury and decreased optimal performance. For example, if you have trouble touching your toes and you were to deadlift, you may end up using you lower back. This puts stress on your back rather then using your core and glutes for the movement.
Make sure you get enough sleep! Lack of sleep may increase your risk for injuries. Studies have also shown that when sleep deprived, your reaction time suffers significantly. “If you don’t get enough sleep, you will have slower reaction times, and poor judgement of distance, speed, and time. All factors that can impact your body’s ability to perform athletic movements” said Coach Elvin.
We also recommend to working out with certified trainers who can make teach you proper form, decreasing the chances of an issue.
But accidents and injuries can happen, even outside the gym (watch those subway stairs), so what can you do?
Assess Your Injury
In the immediate aftermath of an injury, you should focus on minimizing the swelling by following the RICE method. RICE is Rest, Ice, Compression, and Elevation. You can learn more about RICE on WebMD. If the injury is severe, you should see a medical professional as soon as possible. Although with some injuries, it’s good to move it around and create blood flow that will help to heal the injury
Most sprains improve after 2 weeks of rest but if they do not, you should visit your doctor. Only a medical professional can provide you with a diagnosis and provide you with an actionable rehabilitation strategy. Understanding the nature of your injury allows you to mentally prepare for recovery as well as avoid future issues.
Take Some Time Off
IIf your injury is not initially severe, you should still take a break from movements that may aggravate your injury. You will struggle to heal if you repeatedly stress an acute injury, possibly turning it into something more chronic. Pain is your body’s way to telling you that you’re injured so listen! Don’t “work through the pain”. Taking some time off may delay your fitness goals but worsening your injury could put a much larger damper on your long term outlook.
Though you may not be at your peak training level after a recovery period, most research shows that the bulk of your fitness level is difficult to lose in the short-term.
Find Low Impact Exercise
Rehabbing an injury doesn't necessarily mean that you have to avoid all physical activity. Focus on what you can do, not what you can’t. Talk to your doctor about safe activities that you can do while you recover. For example, if you have a shoulder injury, you may still be to cycle on a stationary bike. Add low impact exercises like swimming into your routine to allow you keep moving but also resting your injury. With your doctor’s clearance, we can help modify our HIIT and GPT sessions to avoid aggravating your injury.
Keeping active is not only great for you body but will help you keep your spirits up.
You Are What You Eat
You can help your body heal faster by consuming protein rich foods, such as meat and fish, to rebuild your muscles. Vitamin C aids the production of collagen, a building block of tissue. Foods like salmon are high in Omega-3 fat that limit inflammation as well. If break a bone, you likely will benefit from calcium rich foods and Vitamin D.
Getting Back Into the Game
Depending on the level of injury, you may need to be cleared by a doctor before returning to the gym. You may be given exercises to do at home while you are recovering to strengthen the injured area. You should create a plan with your physical therapist or doctor to ease into your routine. Most likely, you will have to start a lower level of intensity than you were used to. A good rule of thumb is to begin at 50% effort; if you typically run 5 miles, start 2.5 miles of walking. Returning to exercising can take time but make sure you listen to your body and avoid rushing your progress.
And last but definitely not least is...
Being out of the game can take a toll on your mental health and confidence. Try to avoid as negative thoughts can strip your motivation to recover. Find people in your life that can support you through this difficult time. Like our motto, Together Stronger, a strong community can help build you back up.