So you are injured…well damn that sucks. But now what?
It’s definitely difficult to stay motivated when you are injured and unable to do your normal thing. Not only are you going to feel like you are losing your fitness but also a bit of your identity as an athlete and your social time that you get with your friends.
But here are some tips to focus on when you are down so you can stay healthy, rehab quickly and come off the injury stronger, even better than before, by focusing on what you still CAN do, not what you can’t.
Strength: Can’t run? Well now is a great time for you to focus on your strength. Depending on the location and type of injury there will be plenty of options. Sometimes the missing strength is the reason you sustained an injury in the first place, so focusing on how to rehab the injury and keep it from returning in the future is such a great place to start. Some of my athletes have returned stronger, faster and as an overall better athlete after an injury because they had the time to focus on their strength.
Mobility: Focusing on your mobility at this time is vital, you either want to maintain what you had before the injury or gain what you might have been missing. Unfortunately, certain injuries can put you into prolonged positions that can shorten other soft tissue. For example, if your shoulder is in a sling you want to make sure you stretch out of that forward chest/head posture. If you are using crutches, you want to stretch the hip into extension and maintain good hamstring flexibility. Maximize your time in these positions as tolerated.
Nutrition: When injured you need to make sure you are consuming enough calories to support the healing process and ensure those calories are coming from whole foods. It’s easy to get in the dumps when you are injured. You may start eating food that you wouldn’t normally eat, either for comfort or because you don’t think it matters since you can’t train…But it matters!
Sleep: Getting optimal sleep is vital right now for the healing process. Aim for at least 8 hours/night.
Manage Stress: Stress is stress and if you are needing to heal, external stressors can limit that ability. Try using meditation, journaling, talking with a loved one or therapist, setting boundaries for yourself and doing things you enjoy that relax you.
Aerobic Fitness: Maintaining your aerobic fitness is important for both the healing process (blood flow, homeostasis, hormone regulation, tissue quality) and your overall fitness. Aerobic work will maintain your mental health, happiness, mood and identity as an athlete!!! Aim for at least 20 minutes to get these benefits in zone 1 or zone 2. Examples of aerobic activities: If you can’t run can you bike, swim, aqua Jog or row? Can’t bike because of a knee injury? Well the assault bike or echo bike allows you to use your good leg and your two arms! You have to get a bit creative depending on your injury but that’s what your coach or PT can help you with.
Stay healthy friends! If you are having a hard time understanding what you need to focus on contact us today for a phone call or to set up an appointment.
Dr. Rebecca Smith, PT, DPT, Cert-DN, TPI M2