Everyone wants to talk about a good workout they had, and even better a good stretch of workouts. But what about when the injury bug bites? Ouch, that can hurt mentally as well as physically. Nothing can bring your mood and workout program down quicker than having to deal with an injury.
Some people cope with chronic problems that they try to manage, like shoulder difficulties, Achilles’ tendonitis or knee issues. Others have to suddenly deal with an unexpected problem, such as a pulled hamstring or calf muscle, or shoulder problem that pops up.
When an injury strikes there are many common sense things most people probably already know to do:
Listen to your body and stop if it hurts; rest the injury and see if it improves; ice the affected area and if it persists or is extremely painful see a doctor.
However, there are also several important mental things you can do too to make it easier to deal with an injury. The right mental approach can even help you recover more quickly.
Learn about the injury – Research the injury on your own through the Internet, books or fitness magazines, talk to friends, trainers or coaches who might have significant knowledge on the subject and if you decide to visit a doctor learn all you can from him or her.
Knowledge will help you cope with the problem better and be smarter about what you need to do to rebound.
Think positive – Even though it may be hard to do, think positive thoughts. Research has proven that negative thinking can increase a surge in the hormone cortisol, which can divert the body’s energy away from healing.
Cross train – If it’s possible with your injury, try finding a different outlet to continue to get some exercise. For instance, if you’ve hurt your shoulder lifting weights then try to increase the amount of time you run or ride the exercise bike. If you’ve sprained an ankle, concentrate more on upper body weightlifting that doesn’t put strain on the ankle, or get in the swimming pool and see if you can move around there.
When we exercise endorphins are released in the body that create a natural high. You’re overall mood will be a lot better if you continue to experience the benefits of exercise.
Get support – After suffering a sports injury don’t pull away from the friends, athletes, teams or coaches who you normally do things with. Try to still show up at the games, or get together with them before or after their workout. Show support by bringing them a PowerAde, or offer them words of encouragement. In turn, it will be nice for you to get some words of encourage from them as well.
Tweak your goals – As hard as it might be to do, if you suffer an injury sit down and re-examine your fitness or sports goals.
If you planned to run in a local 5K by training on your landice treadmill in early June but are experiencing calf problems and losing valuable training time, maybe look on the local sports calendar and find a race later in the summer and set a goal of competing then.
It’s obviously never fun to get hurt, but unless you’re one of a very select lucky few everyone deals with sports bumps and bruises, sprains and pulls at one point or another.
Just remember that a positive mental approach can sometimes be almost as important as the physical aspect of rehabbing an injury.
At Home Fitness consultant Aaron Dorksen’s blog deals with a variety of fitness topics, ranging from workout tips, motivational ideas and feature stories on how exercise impacts people’s lives. E-mail him with comments, questions or ideas for future blogs at firstname.lastname@example.org
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