If you’re an active individual, one who’s committed to his sport or exercise, then an injury is much more than a sore muscle or a bruise. The road to recovery may turn into something dark, winding and very lonely.
Here’s what to expect after an injury, and how to deal with it proactively.
- You’ll experience pain and discomfort: A training injury may take some time to recover, and may involve rehabilitative therapy. Be prepared to experience some pain, to heal (no pain, no gain, right?). Be an active participant in the process: do the exercises your therapist prescribes, and rest when you should. Know that the pain will pass, but find out about alternative methods for pain management, like acupuncture, massage, Reflexology, etc.
- You feel like your health is suffering: If your sense of good health is very closely tied to your exercise, then you may end up feeling like a torn tendon is going to be the death of you. Keep your sense of perspective: An injury is just that – an injury. It’s not the end of your good health. You can still eat healthily, and perhaps even do a bit of light exercise, until you’ve recovered. Speak to your doctor or trainer about other forms of sport or exercise that are safe for you during the recovery period.
And hey, the enforced downtime may actually do you much more good than you expected, since it will give all your muscles a chance to rest.
- You lose your sense of identity and your self esteem takes a knock: Many of us are defined as individuals according to our hobbies. Also, we feel better about ourselves (more attractive, athletic, capable, etc.) when we exercise regularly. So when an injury takes you out of action, you may feel unattractive and out of place.
This is normal. So roll with it. Expect to feel a little sad, and give yourself some space to adjust. Find new ways to feel good – take up a new hobby, or make plans with friends and family. Stay positive, since there’s a proven link between state of mind and physical health. Says Kathleen Bullbrook – BNurs BPsych(Hons) MClinPsych Candidate –health incorporates the physical and mental, so if either of these are out of balance (for example, you’ve been booked off with an injury) you’ll feel the effects in your state of mind.
If you find yourself feeling very depressed, don’t hesitate to reach out to your support networks, or get professional help. Don’t shoulder the emotional burden alone!
- You fear re-injury and this fear gets you down: Coaches and trainers will testify that this fear – perhaps more so than the injury itself – is what prevents an individual from fully engaging with his sport or exercise. It’s a normal fear. But don’t let it stop you. If you’re having doubts about your abilities or capabilities, get a friend to train with you or hire an experienced trainer to guide you. You can also picture your goals as rungs on a ladder; rather than trying to accomplish the goals at the very top of the ladder, tackle each smaller goal in succession. This way, you’ll slowly and steadily build up your sense of capability.
A training injury doesn’t have to be the worst thing that ever happened to you. It may force you to take some much needed time off, or it’ll force you to train differently (which may take your endurance and strength to places you never imagined). it may also force you to take up a new sport or hobby.
If you’re passionate about exercise, wellness, fitness and living well, then consider a career as a personal trainer. Check out the Comprehensive Personal Training Certification on offer at Trifocus Fitness Academy. Register now!