Have you suffered an injury recently? Ouch. We’ve all been there, and it is absolutely depressing.
But while an injury can be extremely painful and frustrating, it doesn’t necessarily have to destroy your progress and long-term training goals. If you go about it the right way, you can overcome injuries in a surprisingly short period of time.
And luckily in this article we will go over the necessary steps you should implement in order to get back on track as fast as possible!
Your number one priority after getting injured should be recovery. Your body needs to properly recuperate all impacted ligaments, tendons, and muscles in order for you to start exercising and progressing again.
So don’t be afraid to chill out and take some time off, knowing that your results won’t vanish overnight. The exact time frame for your return is going to greatly depend on the severity of the injury, nevertheless you will experience the right feeling when the time comes. But usually, small and non-severe injuries take 1-4 weeks of recovery, and the more severe ones take double or even more (1).
During the recovery period it is advised that you reduce the amount of calories you intake daily. The simple reason for this is your small activity level, and by reducing the overall caloric intake unnecessary weight gain will be prevented. Another thing you can implement is low impact cardio such as walking (if able).
Scientific research has actually found that low impact activities preserve cardiovascular health and increase recovery after an injury. Therefore being injured shouldn’t be an excuses for laziness (2).
Start of Slow
It is your time to shine again, you are getting back to training.
Although you may have waited so long for this moment, don’t let this excitement cause any further injuries. Start of slow, remember that your fitness capabilities declined slightly and that some muscle fibers shrunk during recovery. Our bodies are complex mechanisms which can provide a great feedback. Carefully listed to your body as you start training and reduce the overall load.
If you experience any form of pain during a particular movement, move away to a different exercise or decrease the amount of weight used. Pain is the body’s way of letting you know that something is wrong, so always try to resolve pain issues rather than working through them.
Having proper exercise form is another very important aspect of training after an injury. If it is vital that you perform every exercise with adequate form, keep a good posture, relax the shoulders, and move from your hips. With proper exercise technique you can prevent any further injuries.
It can be tough to control your ego once you start exercising again. You may feel like you can lift as your old self, but this is often just a new injury in disguise. So try to limit the weight you lift on most exercises, especially on the ones you will use the previously injured muscle groups.
With time, slowly increase the weights and progress week to week until you’ve gained your true potential.
Prevent Future Injuries
Remember the old saying “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure”? Well it is true, avoiding future injuries is your best option.
Here are some tips you can use in order to prevent injuries:
Always have a proper corrective routine after a workout. Focus on isometrics to reset your muscle and nervous system.
Properly warm-up before every training session. Perform warm-up sets for your first exercise.
Don’t lift over your fitness capabilities. Use weights you can actually lift.
Always stay hydrated before, during, and after your workouts. This will boost your exercise levels.
Have a weekly corrective or Isometric strength reset for all your muscle groups.
Strive to have a positive attitude and don’t let petty things annoy you. If you start to lose motivation, try to remember why you’re doing this and what your goals are. Besides physical, apply mental rest and clear your mind.
Finally, just know that with slow progress, a healthy diet, and a positive outlook you really can achieve anything!