You are finishing up your last rep, going through that final sprint, pushing towards the finish line!…then all of a sudden you feel a pull and hear a “pop!” It’s the back of your thigh.
You start thinking, “All is lost. I am not going to be able to workout for the longest time.”
Or will you?
Many have a perceived notion that when an injury happens, you can no longer exercise. They are correct but to an extent. Yes, you may not be able to use that right hamstring immediately from that injury, but you still have a fully functional body and 3 healthy limbs.
If you are going through an injury, here’s a list of do’s and don’t when it comes to returning back to full health.
I’m all for those that want to get back to business immediately; however, your body needs time to recover. If your injury just happened on Day 1, it’s best to give it a few days before you return to exercise as well as following the advice of any healthcare professional you may have visited.
Their recommendations may include ice and elevating the joint, taking medication as needed, rest, making sure the joint is non-weight bearing. These are a few post-injury protocols but please take their advice seriously along with what your body is telling you.
Another recommendation they may have is….
Do: Exercise (Seek Help if Needed)
Exercise has many benefits to your body. This does not necessarily mean exercise your injured limb as if nothing happened. If you are going to physical therapy, you would be surprised at the rehabilitation process that is required to fully recover from an injury. But if you are returning to exercise in the gym, it may be best to seek assistance from a trained fitness professional to ensure you do no harm to yourself.
With the right help, they can adjust your program or routine to make it safe and effective.
A few examples of training with injury could be using a cable machine in a seated position versus standing, pressing a dumbbell with your left arm versus the injured right arm, performing activities on the left leg only while your right leg is elevated and resting on a platform.
There are many ways to be active when injured and thoughtful exercise selection is the answer. If you don’t know where to begin, do a web search on physical therapy clinics and gyms near you. Call and let them know what your condition is so they can answer any questions such as “Will I be able to train with you in the condition I am in? Do I need a referral from my primary care? Do you accept my insurance? What services do you offer to injured individuals? What will my rehab or exercise program entail?”
Don’t: Go Against the Advice of a Professional
Sometimes curiosity gets the best of you and you may want to “push it” a little bit to see how far you can take your condition, but if a physical therapist, personal trainer, or another professional advises you to limit yourself to certain activities, follow their recommendations.
They don’t want to hold you back, but they want to ensure you don’t do anything that sets you back or causes pain. If they say something, please listen and follow their advice accordingly.
Don’t: Stop Your Plan
If your plan is focused on one category of health such as exercise, nutrition, or sleep, stick with it!
Tony Gentilcore, a fitness professional, went through an achilles repair and has shown how his training has not stopped.
For example, if you have been on a nutritional plan, it’s important to continue with that plan because it gets you closer towards your goals. Yes, the injury you have may affect your activity level and the calories you are getting in and out of your body, but don’t let those efforts and habits go to the wayside. You may need to revisit your plan and change a few things with the injury at play but keep your goals the same.
Don’t: Get Down on Yourself
The biggest thing that impacts almost everyone with injury is their mental health.
Athletes can be saddened or frustrated as they watch from the sidelines their teammates play the sport they love. Clients can feel defeated and useless.
However, these athletes and clients kept one thing the same, they kept showing up and doing the work.
It takes patience, hard work, and resiliency.
Get focused with your recovery by playing music you like, perform activities you know you can get better at the gym, continue to follow your rehabilitation protocol, and surround yourself with others that support and make you better.
Understand that you WILL get back to full health. It will take time, but every day is another day to get better.