If you are a fan of sports or other fitness activities, it is likely that you have suffered an injury at some point in your life.
In addition to the pain, the injury may have deterred you from continuing to participate in physical activities. It is worth noting that getting an injury while doing some activity or exercise is not unique to you.
How to properly recover from a serious injury
Although enduring an injury and going through the recovery phase can be excruciating, you still have the opportunity to return to the field or gym and continue participating in the physical activities you love and appreciate.
Recovering from an injury can be difficult and agonizing, however, there are certain steps you can take to ease your recovery process and prevent further damage to your body. These tips are as follows:
1. Find out the extent of your injury
The moment you feel a sudden pain in any part of your body, the last thing you should do is make assumptions about what it may be. It is advisable to report your symptoms to your doctor to determine the real cause of the pain.
While visiting the doctor, find out the exact area that has been affected and what activities you cannot participate in. It is your responsibility to check the extent of the injury, the expected recovery period, and whether you need to see a physical therapist to help you with your recovery.
2. Exercise the injured muscle or joint by doing low intensity exercises
Depending on your doctor’s advice, you should move the injured muscle to ensure the healing process. The movement will maintain blood flow through the muscles and prevent the muscle from shortening over time.
You can also stretch the muscle slightly every hour for about twenty seconds. Make sure you don’t overdo it, as this can cause more damage to the muscle.
3. Watch what you eat
The food you eat determines how quickly your injury will heal. Some foods cause inflammation in the body, leading to more swelling and damage to injured parts. This is worse for soft tissue injuries ranging from a strain to a sprain.
Your goal therefore should be to avoid inflammatory foods.
These foods include flour, refined sugars, processed meats, oils, and foods with saturated fat. Instead you should eat fruits, vegetables and foods rich in omega 3, as they will accelerate recovery or pain caused by an injury.
4. Find a support system
This is extremely important, especially if you are suffering some serious injuries. Surrounding yourself with family and friends will motivate you to improve.
You could also surround yourself with other people who are recovering from a similar injury. Having that company will boost your morale and strengthen your recovery process.
If you are working with your physical therapist and a coach, make sure you both communicate with each other. This will create consistency in recovery plans and therefore limit confusion about what to do and what not to do.
5. Be aware of your body
Different people can endure different levels of pain. Remember to be honest with your coach or physical therapist. Don’t push your body too hard when the pain is unbearable. If a certain exercise routine causes more pain in the injured part than before, tell your coach.
Take it easy and don’t minimize the pain just because you’re tired of sitting on the bench. If the pain becomes too intense, interrupt your workout until you are ready to return. It is better to wait until you fully recover than to return when you are in pain, as this is likely to do you even more damage.
6. Find an alternative activity
Having to give up a planned activity like a marathon or game due to injury can be very frustrating for you. You may be afraid of losing your cardiovascular fitness due to such an injury. However, there are other activities you can still do to maintain your physical condition without harming your body.
For example, you can do some low-impact cardiovascular activities like cycling, swimming, or an elliptical workout. This won’t put pressure on your ankle the way it would running. Ask your doctor and therapist to recommend activities that you can still participate in.
7. Set new goals
Now that you can no longer run that marathon or be part of the soccer team, you must set new goals. This helps you feel like you are accomplishing something without stress. You can sign up for another activity a few months later and take your rehab period in preparation for that activity.
Having an injury shouldn’t make you a couch potato. If you cannot participate in other physical activity, you can set other goals by deciding for example to lose something or maintain your current weight through a diet program. This will give you something to work on and make your recovery process easier.
8. Accept your emotions
For some athletes, staying out with an injury is more painful than the actual injury. You may feel angry, scared, shocked, or even deny the situation. You may also feel a deep sense of loss compared to the feeling of longing for your old self.
This emotional turmoil can cause clinical depression if left untreated. Make sure to talk to your doctor about how the injury makes you feel. Your doctor may offer mental exercises to help you come to terms with your injury and speed up your recovery process.
In general, you should keep in mind that having an injury is common, especially in the world of sports and general fitness. Take advantage of your recovery time and learn to rest.
This is an opportunity to take some time off and recharge. Another way you can use this time is to strengthen your mental skills through meditation while practicing positive self-talk and teamwork skills.