It’s tough to stay motivated when you are experiencing an injury and trying to keep the pounds off at the same time. In fact, as I’m writing this post at my computer, I’m icing my foot. The same foot that has given me problems over the past 10 months and left me unable to run and walking for a period of time. After finally coming back from the same injury on my right foot last year and building up my running mileage, I had to stop as I injured the left foot with the exact same foot injury. I was fitted with orthotics a couple of months back and up until a few days ago, I was experiencing no issues with my foot.
So as I sit here and feel the pain in my foot, I have one of two choices; I can let this nagging injury get to me or I can find a way to fix it and move on. After visiting several specialists, MRI’s, bone scans, months of physiotherapy and fitted for orthotics, you would think that this injury would be fixed. Well, apparently not. My shoes are the correct footwear for my type of foot so I know that the shoes are not the issue. So what to do next? Having my orthotics re-fitted will fix my injury temporarily but I foresee this happening again and again. So this is where my 25 years of personal training experience comes in to see what I can do to. The problem; biomechanical. The solution; fix my running gait and learn to become less dependent on using my orthotics.
So how do you work through an injury that has left you sidelined from a particular sport or training? Well, it all depends on the nature of the injury. Make sure that you listen to the advice or your doctor, specialist, and physiotherapist before you return to activity. Here are a few tips to keep you going in the meantime.
Recovery is essential for injuries to heal. Sometimes you can still be active while recovering from an injury while resting the injured muscle group/s. If you fall into this category, your physiotherapist will let you know which activities to avoid and which to continue. Don’t force yourself to stay active or workout as the injury can lead to a chronic problem or even worse, a lifetime of pain in the injured or surrounding areas.
I will not provide advice on how to treat an injury as this is not my area of expertise and you should contact your physician or physiotherapist for recovery and treatment options. I will however suggest that if you experience pain or swelling and you’re not sure what the cause is or if you think your injury is more serious, to seek medical attention right away.
The nature of your injury will determine what activities you can continue with. During my running injury I had to find ways to get my heart rate up without aggravating the injured area. I was able to do this through indoor cycling and rowing. I also highly recommend swimming as it can be a great cardiovascular workout that doesn’t put much stress on the joints. Pool running is another great option for runners (even though it can be a little boring). I did this many times while injured and training for a race and with the proper technique I was able to keep my heart rate up.
Strength training is a great way to gain some lean body mass and if you are able to work around the injured area, you can get those heart rates up by incorporating some weights into a cardio circuit. If your injury is more intense, try yoga or simply go for a walk to keep the body moving. Our bodies are meant to move so if you’re injured and able, design your own routine that won’t stress your injury.
One of my favourite topics of discussion this past year is nutrition. Being injured is not an excuse to stop eating healthy. In fact, it’s the one time where you might want to start eating healthier or even adapt to changing to a whole food/plant base lifestyle. Let your body heal by feeding it the proper nutrients it needs.
Eating healthier was the one thing that not only helped me keep the body fat off during my injury but I also decreased my body fat levels. How did I do this? I changed to a whole food/plant base lifestyle. Not only was I able to decrease my weight and body fat, but my energy level increased by omitting animal protein, refined sugar, and processed food. In fact, I was able to eat all the time and not gain any weight through the later stages of my injury.
One of the key factors that will get you through any injury is how you think. Keeping a positive attitude will keep you on track with your goals and make your return back to activity that much easier. Use your recover time to your advantage by re-evaluating your goals so that when you return to activity or training you do it with more enthusiasm and passion.
A good tool is to evaluate your current status when you are injured. During my injury, it gave me time to re-set my short and long term goals. I looked at what was working and not working with my previous training programs, and tweaked it so I could improve my performance in the future. My time off also provided me the time to research my dietary concerns and change to a whole food/plant base lifestyle which has given me more energy, made me lighter, and feel better about my long-term health.
Life doesn’t always work out the way we plan, that’s life. See the positive in your injury as a chance to make yourself better and work on things that you would normally not have time to do. Ask yourself how you want to improve your body or feel better. We can’t always control getting injured but you can control how it makes you feel and what you do with your time. We’ve all been there so make the most of it and focus on where you want to go and not where you currently are.
Have a great day & remember we’re always here to help you out.
Art & Maureen