I have, thankfully, never had a major injury. But I have had minor injuries and niggles which interfere with my training goals, and I know how frustrating those can be. I see alot of injured people day-to-day, and I can only empathise with how frustrating that must be, and how it affects your focus and motivation for training. But being injured could be a good time to take stock: whether you’ve been doing something wrong, what you should be doing; a chance to re-evaluate your fitness goals and get back to basics. If you’ve got an injury, obviously the first place to start is getting it diagnosed and getting a rehab/treatment plan (a physio is best for this). If it’s something which prevents you from doing your normal training for a few weeks to a few months, find out what you need to be doing, and what you shouldn’t be doing during the rehab. Then set goals for the treatment process and use your usual training time to work on these, such as doing certain stretching or strengthening exercises. Find out what other activities you can do, such as swimming or cycling, instead of running; perhaps you can do more pilates style exercises or core work. Be proactive in your rehabilitation, i.e.: don’t just go to physio once a week and expect them to fix you, often they will give you ‘homework’, so do it. One of the biggest issues in injury rehabilitation is lack of compliance by patients. But listen to your physio -if they advise you not to do something, don’t do it, there is probably a good reason for their advice!
If your injury is more serious and you are unable to do most physical activity for a longer period of time, use this as a chance to get the basics right – get more sleep, sort out your eating habits, and spend some time figuring out what you would like to be doing exercise-wise once you can get back to it; but be realistic, perhaps what you were doing before is not possible anymore. This doesn’t mean you have to give up exercise/sport completely, it just means a change is necessary. One of the silver linings of being injured (if there is one), is that it makes you realise how you took your fit and healthy body for granted and it makes you appreciate just having a fully functioning body, with little pain or discomfort when doing normal activites. We all take our health and functioning for granted sometimes, so learn to be aware of your body and certainly appreciate it for the amazing things it can do!
Things to do while injured to keep focused and motivated:
- Be proactive and involved in the rehabilitation process.
- Do the exercises you can do while injured:
- Stretching; strengthening exercises; core work and pilates; postural and balance work; other activities like swimming or cycling; and work on other body parts, like upper body.
- Set realistic rehab goals for each week and focus on reaching those.
- Use the time to re-evaluate your fitness goals and set new ones. Being injured will probably make you more motivated to get back out there!
- Visualisation – research shows that using visualisation during your treatment (i.e.: focusing on the injured area and visualising it’s fully functioning movement) can increase recovery time.
‘Do what you can, with what you have, where you are’ Theodore Roosevelt