For every athlete’s high, there’s an athlete’s low, with the brightest achievements being born from moments of intense personal struggle.
Of all the metaphorical mountains to conquer on the road of physical fitness, injury is quite often the hardest to overcome.
This is because injuries restrict freedom, and healing requires great amounts of time and patience. In a way, you need to take a step back before you can take a step forward, which for physically active people, can be a very difficult and taxing experience to go through.
We’ve talked a little bit about the likes of injuries and rehabilitation throughout some of our previous blogs, but today we’re going to be taking a look at the bigger picture of recovery, and how to get back on your feet when an injury knocks you down.
The Sore Statistics
There are a thousand and one ways to exercise, and an equal amount of ways in which to get injured. Although the data shows an optimistic decrease in the amount of recorded sports-related injuries during the pandemic, which is to be expected, the same data shows that 2020 alone saw just under 387,0000 such injuries that required immediate medical attention.
In terms of which activities are the most prone to injury, somewhat surprisingly skateboarding comes out on top, although football, basketball, swimming and the use of personal equipment weren’t too far behind.
This isn’t to suggest that one activity is safer than another, but rather to highlight the prevalence of sports-related injuries. What’s more, with larger numbers of budding athletes taking their exercise regimes into their own hands, the growing possibility and potential for injury remains a pressing concern.
How To Put Your Best Foot Forward After an Injury
Rest & Recuperate
When a physical injury arises, the very best thing you can do is rest, and this can be delivered by either limiting physical movement or getting enough sleep.
Although it can be hard for athletes who are used to an active routine, allowing the body time to rest will prevent straining the muscle area any further.
If there was already black smoke chugging out of the engine of your car, you wouldn’t want to try and drive it any further.
In terms of recovery, sleep’s your best friend. As the body works throughout the day, hormone balances begin to sway and it’s only when it gets the chance to sleep that the body’s able to rectify any deficits.
In terms of physical recovery, the Human Growth Hormone (HGH) is the most active throughout the night, as it works to rebuild muscle tissue. A speedy recovery relies on levels of HGH being replenished by the power of good sleep.
Rehabilitate the Right Way
When working through the recovery process, it’s important to give yourself time, and to be aware of when you’re physically ready to resume light levels of training.
Your physical rehabilitation needs will depend largely on the type of injury you’ve sustained, but assisting your journey with targeted workouts will help you to define your efforts into one single area; speeding up your recovery.
It won’t do you any favours to jump straight back into the deep end with an hours-long gym session. Instead, you should seek to build your movements with small, slow and controlled steps.
One really brilliant piece of equipment that’ll allow you to do this is a resistance band. They’ll really help you to work on your motion and develop your muscle strength, and the most effective sets of resistance bands will allow you to train with varying levels of strength.
The versatility of a resistance band works with many different movements and fitness goals, and in fact, we produced our own mini series of resistance band workouts; which you’re more than welcome to follow along here.
The Power of Positive: If only an injury could be healed overnight! Instead, the reality can see you out of action for weeks, or even months in a worse case scenario.
This long and arduous process will take its toll on your mental health just as much as it will on your body. An injury is almost like fighting two separate wars, yet mental health should be the last thing left in the firing line.
Your journey to recovery will demand as much energy from your mind as it will from you physically, and it’s important to keep a positive mindset.
Having a good attitude and trusting the process will make each step that little bit easier, and you shouldn’t push yourself too soon. Remember to take days off, and spend time doing activities you enjoy.
Keep a journal of how you’re feeling, and never forget how far you’ve come.
Set Goals & Celebrate Milestones
Maybe it’ll be running that first one hundred metres? Maybe it’ll be completing your first rep, and it could even be just functioning unaided again.
Whatever your goals are, it’s important to hold them close when you’re on the journey to recovery, and to recognise when you’ve worked hard to achieve them. The human brain is a very milestone-orientated thing, and it’ll find it easier to work towards something that it’s got its sights set on.
Setting goals is therefore very important when it comes to recovery, and it’s healthy and good practice to document your journey.
Not only will this allow you to visualise your improvements, but it’ll help you to build upon areas that deserve more attention.
When you’ve ticked off a milestone, celebrate with a cheat day, or by doing something that you love to reinforce rewards-based growth.
Consult a Specialist
Physical injuries are a complex and tricky matter, and not something that you would want to fall far from the line.
An injury must receive the right level of care and medical attention, as this will ensure that you’re on the mend in the right direction, and that no underlying causes are left to fester.
This is often the case with resurfacing injuries and other related ailments, which plan to hinder your future physical abilities if left untreated.
We’re so lucky that in this world we’re able to access all kinds of miraculous medical services, and you should can never have too much expertise at your fingertips when you’re on the road to recovery.
Your instinct will alert you to when this kind of expertise is due because you’ll know when the injury has festered for too long, a major red flag that’ll tell you “you need to see a specialist.”
Time and patience are two of the most crucial ingredients for recovery, and you should take all the time you need to get better.
Never feel pressured into returning too soon, and exercise at your own speed and comfort, because for as quickly as an injury can occur, it can take a lifetime to heal if not approached with a careful and considerate hand.
Each and every piece of our SMUG Active collection has been designed to meet a purpose within recovery, and we believe that growth is fostered through an intelligent approach to fitness.
When you experiment with new techniques, you’re allowing yourself to come back better and stronger than ever before.
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