Staying active is such an important part of maintaining fitness, our overall mental health and wellbeing. But what do you do when an injury derails your regular exercise routine? Even a brief setback can slam the breaks on your fitness progress and make it hard to get back to where you once were; but it doesn’t have to. Don’t get me wrong, getting injured sucks and the easiest thing to do when your hit with an injury is to get bogged down in the unfairness of it all. Recovery is the ultimate goal, and what you need is an effective way to bridge the gap between the day you stop exercising until the day you can start again.
Accept that “It is what it is” and Move On
Obviously you never intended to get injured, but accepting the reality will help you move past the initial resentment and unhappiness. Frustration and sadness are two of the biggest mental side effects associated with being injured. We all have a choice, you can wallow in self-pity, or you can remember that you are much more than your ability to workout. A positive of the healing process, although challenging, it will give your body a chance to reset and regroup. Again it is important to remember, that most of the time, the injury is only temporary.
Getting Back into Training Following an Injury
It is important while recovering from an injury to take things slowly. Listen to your Physio as this is what they are trained to do. Your Physio will only discharge you fit and ready for activity once your symptoms have gone and you are performing activities without pain or discomfort. It is important not to rush this phase, as it’s very easy to re-injure yourself as even though the symptoms may have gone, the muscle and the tendon for example may not be ready for full load of the activity or sport required.
Stick to Your Routine
It is important to maintain the same daily pattern even when you are sidelined by injury. From a mental standpoint, the routine of exercising can be just as important as the exercise itself. A few examples of how you can stick to your routine are: If you have suffered a lower body injury, there are plenty of supplementary exercises a qualified Physiotherapist can show you to not only maintain your strength, but also educate you on how to manage the injury through a proper rehabilitation program to make sure the injury does to reoccur again. Maintaining a routine is very beneficial for your mentality, and you will still have the added benefit of a endorphin release associated with your regular exercise routine.
Maintaining your Healthy Eating
There are so many diet fads it’s pretty hard to keep up with them all. But one thing remains true; eating wholesome good food will never go out of fashion. If you have to reduce your training it’s important to remember that all food contains calories, so if you are eating more calories then you are burning you will either maintain the same weight or gain weight. This is a topic which we may delve more into later down the track but for the purpose of this article, be mindful of what you are eating, remember balance is important and if whatever you are doing cannot be sustained for the long term, it is most probably a fad or qucik fix.
Stay positive! Don’t Obsess Over Results
Taking time off any form of exercising due to an injury is going to result in you losing strength and overall fitness to some extent. It will take time to regain your strength back, depending on the type of injury and how long you were out for. Don’t get mad if you struggle initially, once you have recovered from your injury and start getting back into the swing of things you will find that building back strength and muscle is a lot quicker, you can thank muscle memory for that!
Redirect Your Time
If you find you cannot exercise at all it is common to wonder what you will do instead, so it is a good idea to explore other pursuits that make you happy and that take your mind of the injury. If you can place your energy elsewhere, you will mentally be better off. It is important to note that we all have setbacks at one point or another; it’s how we mentally overcome the obstacle that really defines us. Take Cameron our Principle Physiotherapist for example; he suffered career-ending injuries, which led him towards the path of Exercise Sports Science and Physiotherapy. You can read more about Cameron and his injuries here.
Find a Physio
The best way to bounce back and avoid any further injuries is to find a Physiotherapist who is aligned with your goals, understands the importance of exercise and your return to sport. With a formative treatment plan, the motivation and compliance to carry it through, your Physiotherapist will have you back stronger and fitter then ever!