Getting That Spring Back In Your Step: How To Return To Fitness After An Injury
You sweat daily and you go hard when you do! Bravo. However suffering a workout related injury is practically inevitable when it comes to living a fit life. But hold up – just because you’re down, doesn’t mean you have to be out. Getting hurt is the worst, but with these easy tips you can work-around your injury, stay in shape and speed up your recovery.
1. An Ache v. An Injury
First things first, before you go off and try to “walk it off” let’s be clear – are you saying ouch because it is an ache, or is it an injury? Aches from working out are normal, but if the pain is sharp, near a joint, you’re in pain even when you’re not moving or it’s been more than three days – then it is probably an injury. Get it checked out and once you get clearance from your doc follow these simple steps to get back in the game.
2. Work Around Your Injury
Back in the day experts would almost always recommend rest and only rest post injury. However recent studies have shown that there’s in fact another option – working around it. Pain in one area only is often times our body’s way of saying, “shake things up and try something new.” Most exercisers do the same activity over and over again, and over time this can increase your chance for injury. Therefore a well rounded and varied regimen is always best. So if your knees are killing you from that 20 miles a week goal you set last year, then cut back on the miles and throw a yoga or Pilates class into the mix. Chances are you’ll not only give your achey knees a break, but you’ll feel stronger during your runs due to the attention you’ve been giving to your other muscles.
3. Sweat It Out While You Sit Out
When it comes to your activity and an injury, an all-or-nothing attitude has to go RADicals. Many athletes are type A, so if they can’t go all out like they’re used to then they rather just sit the bench. However that really doesn’t make much sense. It’s kind of like slashing your other three tires just because you have one flat. So instead I suggest giving your supporting muscles some play while the main headliner takes a break. See “Simple Swaps For Common Injuries” below. However no matter what, the last thing you want to do is couch it. Doing so causes detraining and a regression in your current fitness level. Read: coming back will be 10X harder. So don’t sit it out, work it out.
4. Don’t Quit On Your Self Esteem
Speaking of couching it, not only will your fitness level regress, your self esteem can take a downward dive too. I know all too well that injuries don’t just harm us physically (keep reading). Simply put, if you’re used to sweating daily chances are you do so for more reasons than fitting into your skinny jeans. In fact, people who sweat are overall nicer people. So when we don’t sweat you might as well cue the mood swings, low energy and so much more. Straight up, sweating compromises our immune systems RADicals, and this system is the main system that speeds up recovery. So don’t let that stress fracture stress you out. Coming back from an injury has the power to unlock an undiscovered inner strength, and P.S. this discovery via adversity is totally bound to transfer into other areas of your life too boo.
5. Simple Swaps For Common Injuries
So now that you’re ready to take a detour versus a pit stop, here are some simple swaps for today’s common injuries: 1) Bad Knees: lessen the stress on the knee joint and do split squats instead of lunges. Keeping the legs stable stabilizes the knee in a much safer way. 2) Bad Back: Nix the back extensions and do planks instead. By eliminating flexion and extension and focusing on stabilization this move is an ultimate score for your core. 3) Bad Shoulder: extreme angles suck when your shoulders are bad. So when you’re working your triceps opt for tricep presses as opposed to dips or extensions. Doing so will take the shoulder completely out of the equation.
Basically boo, there is always a fix for your pain RADicals. Trust me, I know. A bad fall several years ago has made my back a bit whack – so I wanted to share my go-to’s to keep my core strong, my body balanced unilaterally (my hips are a bit uneven since that fall too – sigh) and my butt in gear. Literally, our hips don’t lie, so keeping your rump area flexible and strong is key (injured or not).
Check out the video at the top of this post! I sure do hope this helps you get that “spring back in your step!”
Photos by @jesswestphotos