Getting physically injured is a nightmare, especially for active people and athletes. Injuries mean lost time at the gym, sitting out of games, and feeling defeated. But believe it or not, the challenges that come from recovery can actually inspire improvement. Follow these five tips and return to workouts physically and mentally strong.
1. Get diagnosed. Know the difference between being hurt and suffering an injury. “We like to ‘man up’ and walk it off when we get hurt. But you know you are injured when the pain you sustained has not gone away or perhaps has gotten worse.” says Aaron Wexler, NASM CPT. “Pain is the first sign that something in your body's kinetic chain is not right.” You can walk off being sore, but you should not walk off real pain.
2. Understand what happened. How did you get injured? Understanding what happened will be key to your rehab plan so you can avoid further injury. Knowing what went wrong will also help you mentally, as getting injured can really impact your confidence level.
3. Seek supervision. Work with your doctor on an exercise-based rehab program. A physical therapist or personal trainer can also help correct bad movement patterns and muscle imbalances in order to prevent further injuries.
4. Fuel your body. A nutrient-packed diet and adequate hydration are key during recovery. Adding a supplement like glutamine or MSM and chondroitin may also help rebuild joints. Stay away from alcohol, sugar, and white flour.
5. Keep going. Continue your prescribed rehab plan for a few weeks after you feel back to normal. This will help you continue to build strength. Focus on stabilization, core, and flexibility exercises after rehab. You’ll also want to warm up your injured muscle with a foam roller