Staying Active while Recovering from an Injury
You’ve been going to the gym consistently, and you’re getting stronger and feeling great. Then, one day you realize something doesn’t feel right. It could be that your shoulder feels funky when you lift your arms overhead, or your lower back is throbbing. Whatever it is, you know that you are experiencing some sort of injury and your heart immediately sinks.
Despite any efforts to avoid injuries, they can happen when you least expect it. Heck, I injured my thumb just the other day from binge reading a book on my phone (yes, I felt quite ridiculous admitting that). As someone who has had pretty much every injury known possible, I assure you that an injury is not the end of the world. While getting injured is frustrating, it doesn’t mean you have to put your training program on hold or even forget about it all together.
The key to staying active while healing from an injury is finding the opportunities for movement that works for your body. Yes, you may have to get creative and start thinking outside of the box, but it isn’t impossible. Look for the opportunity in the obstacle – maybe this is a time for you to try something new or spend time perfecting a new movement, like a pull-up if you are unable to do lower body movements. If you have a shoulder injury that makes back squats painful, you may be able to try front squats instead. Take this opportunity to strengthen a weakness and become a more well rounded athlete!
One of the huge benefits of the GFSC program is that we have an ideal coach to athlete ratio. You are not lost in a sea of people. The coaches know who you are and know your needs, so they can tailor your workout to what works for you. It is critical that you let them know when something is feeling off or if you’ve experienced previous injuries, because they can modify a workout to fit your needs. If something doesn’t feel right, do not, I repeat, do not work through the pain. That will not help it get any better. It will only cause more damage and make it worse. You need to stop doing any movements that cause you pain until you are healed. The coaches can’t read your mind though, so be vocal and let them know that you need a modification or a new exercise altogether. You don’t have to do the same movement as everyone else. The most important thing is just that you are moving your body.
If you aren’t sure what is injured or what your limitations are, I recommend seeking help from a medical professional. Build yourself a team of people that are helping you recover from the injury, so you can return to your normal level of activity as quickly as possible. It’s important to remember that injuries vary in type and severity and affect people differently. It may be much easier for some people to recover from an injury than it is for you. As hard as it is, try not to compare yourself to others. Tune into your body and listen to it’s needs.
Your mental strength is instrumental to recovering from an injury. Getting frustrated is normal, but you can’t let this set back hold you down. Having a positive and patient mindset is critical to helping you maintain both your physical and mental health during an injury. If you’ve been active for a while or just recently got started with a new type of movement, the activity withdrawal is real. You may use your workouts to decrease stress and boost your energy, so you may be feeling anxious about not being able to do your regular workouts. Personally, being in GFSC classes is my happy place. I instantly feel better when I walk through the doors and get to be with the other members and coaches. I notice a change in my mental health if I am not able to go to class for a while. After experiencing many injuries, I’ve learned that I still need to go to class and just do what I can do for the time being. It helps my mental health and makes it easier for me to jump back into class once I’m healed.
I encourage you to not let an injury keep you from going to class, if you are able. Even if you are stretching or doing physical therapy exercises during the whole class, you are still staying in the routine of going to class. Just remember to be vocal and let the coaches know what you need, because they are here for you at any point of your journey at Get Fit Strength and Conditioning!