The not so great aspect of exercise, sport and general physical activity is injury. Not a fun word for anyone that has been sidelined from their sport, activity or normal gym routine. Injuries, as unfortunate as they are, happen and are part of the deal when being active. Understanding how to best avoid them and additionally how to reframe our mindset when we do have an injury is essential for consistency. Because if it hasn’t happened yet, someday you will be challenged by a physical ailment of some form.
How to best avoid an Injury
Avoiding injuries really comes down to doing most things right, most of the time. Everything outside of the gym like getting enough sleep, taking rest days and eating well to recover from your exercise. Additionally, being intentional with your warm up, stretching and proper movement during your time at the gym. The last one will ensure you are not putting your body in unsafe positions or setting yourself for an injury with poor form. From my experience in the fitness industry for over a decade, most clients I have worked with don’t actually incur injuries during training sessions at the gym. More often than not injuries result from improper technique lifting or moving with less than ideal mechanics in their everyday life.
A Training Program to Reduce the Risk of Injury
One of the reasons why I love funtional fitness is that it teaches people HOW to move not just in the gym but techniques they will use to accomplish everyday tasks. Another source of aches in pains that leads to the potential for injury over time is poor posture. When we think about posture often times we are only thinking about standing up straight or sitting with our chest out proud and head tall. But what we need to consider is that posture is a dynamic positioning of the body in it’s best mechanical alignment. Meaning that if we are moving with good posture, like holding our back flat as we pick things up from the ground or avoid slouching while sitting in our chairs. And maitaining proper knee alignment as we stand out of those chairs, we will find that the body feels better on a daily basis and doesn’t accumululate as much wear in tear over time.
I’m hurt, what now?
Lastly, let’s talk about the way we think after an injury has occured or we when are in an injured state. First off, make sure you consult with a trained medical professional and even get referred to an expert as needed. This will help establish the severity of the injury as well as the timeline for recovery. That timeline is going to be critical in helping you understand what you should and should not be doing and when you can return to normal activity (with a modification, more on that later). Addressing your headspace at this point is also important to note. Injuries suck. It’s okay to be upset or disappointed. Take some time to allow yourself to not being happy about the situation. But when you’re ready to start taking action on the recovery process you need to understand that your injury is a great opportunity to make a drastic improvement in your health and fitness.
What to focus on moving forward
You likely got injured because you were doing something wrong. Either poor form, too much volume, not enough movement variety in your training program, etc. Or maybe it was just bad luck. What ever the cause is, the solution is likely right next to the problem. As in the poor form that caused your injury is what you need to work on when your body is healthy enough to do so. That’s the longterm goal. On the short end, the time between the injury and when you get back to “normal training” you need to shift your focus to what you can train and realize that is an amazing opportunity to really refine some other things you couldn’t specifically focus on before. For example, consider you strain your calf because you have been doing a jump rope routine to improve your conditioning 5 days a week. Clearly a simple overuse injury. Adjusting the volume of your routine to 2-3 days a week will be more appropriate once the strain has recovered, but in the 3 weeks until then you don’t have to be sedentary. You can take that time to improve the stamina of your core and upper body. When you return to your jump rope routine you will find that you will be more fit overall than had you rested. Have you ever had an injury that challenged you to train differently, leading you to come out fitter on the other side of it? Maybe you’re not fully recovered from a previous injury or just had one and you’re not sure what to do? Either way we’d love to hear your story or help you along in your current journey! Send us an email or book an intro to learn how we can help you!