Post Injury: Surround Yourself With........

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Five tips to help you recover after getting a sports injury

Angie Ferguson

USA TODAY NETWORK – FLORIDA

If you’ve been training regularly for any length of time, you no doubt recognize and love the benefits of exercise and have most likely achieved amazing results. Being sidelined by an injury can be extremely devastating and can challenge your patience and resolve.

Depending on the type and severity of an injury, you may be temporarily sidelined or at least kept away from your usual routine. Here are five tips to help you get through this difficult time and come out on top.

1. Create a team with your health care professionals

Surely a team of medical and health professionals have been caring for you during the acute stages of your injury, so make your goals known to them and ensure you are doing your part in your rehabilitation. Understand the exercises your physical therapist or exercise physiologist are prescribing, and be in regular communication with them to track your progress and adapt training accordingly.

2. Re-frame your expectations

If you have been working toward a specific goal or had been used to a certain level of performance pre-injury, understand that deviations from this because of your injury will be more challenging for you mentally than physically. Set new goals and a plan of action to achieve them. Achieving new goals post injury can be just as rewarding and as fulfilling as the previous goal if you are seeing progress. If you were training for a 10K run and had knee surgery, realize that even being able to jog for 1K is a significant achievement and the first steps in a return to running long term.

3. Celebrate every small victory

If you are physically restricted (in a cast or a sling), no doubt you will face many times in the day where even the simplest of tasks are frustrating or painful. Throw a proverbial party every time you hit even small milestones in training. It may be when range of motion increases, or when small weight is added to lifts. Again, remember the significance of progress in the context of what you have been through and celebrate the body healing and gaining strength.

4. Find intensity or focus in other areas

If cleared by your doctor, be creative with your training and find intensity or focus in other areas of activity. For example, if it is a shoulder injury, focus on leg strength. Or maybe it’s time to try a more holistic exercise like yoga or Pilates, which can further support your recovery.

5. Understand that healing is not linear

There will be weeks where you make incredible progress and others where healing seems like you’re watching paint dry. It’s during these weeks you need to remember just how far you have already come.

Angie Ferguson is an exercise physiologist from Fort Myers, Florida. She is a USA Triathlon Advanced Level 2 coach, USA Cycling coach, has a Specialty in Sports Nutrition certification and a PhD in results! For more training tips, contact her at gearedup.biz.