Nothing can throw your fitness plan into chaos faster than a sports injury. But you don’t have to take this hit lying down. Put these tips to work and don’t let an injury derail your fitness plan.
I know what I’m talking about. I fell down the stairs back in October, and I’ve been sidelined with an ankle injury every since. Pity, too. I was just getting to the point where working out felt good — not like a chore.
But I’ve been determined to maintain that fitness connection, and not slip off the wagon, even through the Christmas holiday. Below are a few tips that have helped me.
Tip 1: See a doctor. Even if your injury seems minor, get it checked out by a doctor. Don’t self-diagnose an injury. Doctors are trained to spot potential problems that you may be unaware of. Don’t risk being sidelined for longer than necessary because you didn’t get professional advice.
Tip 2: Don’t act like it doesn’t hurt. If you’re in pain, say so. Pain is your body’s way of telling you something is wrong. And avoid masking an injury by using over-the-counter medications, splints, supports or wraps without instruction from a health professional. This can cause further damage if used improperly. If you are masking your body’s natural defenses, you risk worsening your condition, which may keep you on the sidelines for longer.
Tip 3: Be patient. Healing takes time, and there is no way to rush it. It takes as long as it takes. Follow your doctor’s prescribed treatment plan and try not to let frustration get you down. Exercising before you’re healed is a bad idea, and may even prolong your inability to get back in the game.
Tip 4: Don’t take unnecessary risks with your recovery. Ask questions of your doctor and don’t assume you can continue to do other training while you recover. If you twist your ankle, don’t assume you can still do your usual upper body routine. For instance, certain lower body injuries may affect your ability to do upper-body exercises by placing stress on other areas. This could cause a chain reaction of imbalances that could, in turn, cause other injuries.
Tip 5: Understand that you will lose some ground, and can’t just start back at the same intensity as when you stopped exercising. This is very important. Begin with a stepped and slow approach to getting your fitness level back.
Tip 6: Stay positive. Keep a positive outlook and don’t let a minor setback derail your fitness plan forever. Talk with friends and family about what you’re going through. Keep a diary of your feelings, and if you start to feel depressed, try to find other activities that will help boost your mood until your injury heals. And remember, a physical time out could end up being a good thing. The rest period may allow you to finally read that book or catch up with friends — or even reassess and fine-tune your fitness goals.
No one is happy when an injury interrupts their fitness plans. But with a bit of attitude adjustment and patience, you’ll be back in the saddle in no time.