Keeping up with your workouts can be a challenging feat under normal circumstances. Add an injury to the equation and it may feel like you are treading through mud. Injury is incredibly frustrating but it doesn’t mean that you should give up on your fitness and health goals. Here a few tips for staying the course:
1) Do what you CAN
There is almost always SOME form of exercise you CAN do. Perhaps you have injured your lower body and can’t do your regular running routine. You COULD however do upper body strength training or a core workout. Maybe you are plagued with a shoulder injury in which case you could focus instead on more lower body work. Do any form of exercise you are able to do. Sticking with your routine, even if its not your "usual" will keep you mentally in the game. And who knows, you may actually enjoy the change.
2) Look at it as an opportunity to change up your routine
We are all creatures of habit and REALLY dislike change. An injury, however, will force you to do just that. You have two choices here. You can either be irritated and quit OR you can enjoy the ride. Trying a new workout is not only good for your mind but it is great for the body. I never would have tried yoga if it weren't for an injury. Now I love the mobility, strength and stress busting benefits that it gives me and incorporate it regularly into my work out schedule. Our body craves change in our workouts. Look at this as an amazing opportunity to get stronger in a new way and expand your fitness horizons.
3) Eat Well
You may be thinking “this is completely unrelated to my fitness” but hear me out on this. Having worked through several injuries personally and with clients, I have found that taking care of the body in ANY capacity keeps us motivated to plug away at our modified workout program. Eating a diet of clean unprocessed foods keeps your weight in check (very important as your exercise intensity may decrease) so you don’t have more work to do when your injury has healed. Consuming lots of fruit and veggies, protein found in eggs, fish and poultry and a dose of healthy fat like olive oil and avocados will also keep your moods balanced so you can deal with the emotional roller coaster of being hurt.
4) Recognize that progress will not always be linear
It is so important to mentally prepare for this before you start your recovery process. One day you may start to feel as though you barely have an injury and the next day feel like you are at square one. This is completely normal and NOT a reason to give up. Recognizing this ahead of time is half the battle. When you start to see your progress wane, keep your head up and keep plugging away. The next workout will be better.
5) Focus on “Prehab”
Once you have had the pleasure of dealing with an injury, you will NEVER want to go through it again! Time for “Prehab” or Pre-habilitation. Switch the focus of your workouts to injury prevention. Strength train your major muscle groups 2-3 times a week to create a strong, injury free body going forward.
The important thing to remember is that injury is temporary. While we're in it, It feels like the world is going to end and all the hard work we've done will be gone forever. However, in reality it is just a blip on the radar in the greater scheme of our life. Take the time to let the injury heal and do the work you need to do to rehab it so you can get back into fighting shape in no time.
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