(Gloucestercitynews.net)(June 19, 2019)--Whether you’re a professional athlete, or simply someone who takes sport and physical fitness very seriously, suffering an injury can be debilitating and devastating. Not only can it leave you unable to train or compete, but you could also find yourself limited with regards to your daily activities and movements; loss of work, less social interaction and general immobility can all be incredibly stressful. If this has happened to you, or someone you know, it’s important to remember that it’s a temporary situation. Read on for our top tips on how to recover from a sports injury.
Work On Prevention
They say prevention is better than cure, and this is especially true with regards to sports injuries; working to avoid an injury in the first place is far easier than trying to fix a problem once it’s occurred. Warming up properly is incredibly important, and it’s about much more than just a few gentle stretches. Begin your workout with jump rope, lunges, leg swings, and push-ups, and you’ll soon see the benefits. You could also choose to use an app designed to aid with warmups; the Dynamic Warm Up and Stretching app has multiple programs and video demonstrations, while the Stretching and Flexibility app allows you to choose the type of warm up by the area you’re trying to target. Your main goal is to get your heart pumping and the blood flowing to those muscles - so simply stretching your hamstrings just won’t cut it!
Learn About Your Injury
The more knowledge you have about your injury, the better prepared you’ll be to help yourself recover faster - and that’s the main goal here. There’s no better source of information than your coach, so pick their brains as much as you need. Find out everything from the type of injury you have and the expected recovery period, to what you can do to help speed things along and whether there is anything you should absolutely avoid doing. An injury isn’t just a physical problem. It also affects confidence and the mind, so learning everything you can about it will make you feel less anxious and more prepared for the journey ahead.
Seek Expert Medical Advice
If you’ve already used heat or cold therapy and followed the advice from your coach, and nothing seems to be working, it’s time to call in the professionals. Minor injuries such as sprains, strains, and tears will usually heal themselves within a few weeks, but if this isn’t the case, head straight to your doctor. You’ll likely have to undergo an extensive examination, complete with a range of tests and x-rays before you’ve given an official diagnosis, and then your rehabilitation program will begin. During this time, you’ll see a variety of people, from a specialized physiotherapist with a Bachelor’s degree to a more community-based Family Nurse Practitioner who has gained their FNP certificate online. They’ll all have their part to play in your recovery, and will bring their own expertise to the table.
Take An Adequate Period Of Rest
Although the temptation to just grit your teeth and keep training through your injury will probably be great, this is actually the worst thing you can do. Aggravating an injury can lead to long-term chronic pain and further damage, so it’s definitely something to avoid. However, this doesn’t mean you should confine yourself to your bed, though. Trying to maintain daily activities is a good idea, with the added use of a splint or brace for vital support. Once the initial pain has subsided and you’ve had the go-ahead from your healthcare professionals or coach, you can begin exercising again; gentle sports such as yoga, walking and swimming are ideal for keeping muscles in shape but not risking further injury.
Maintain A Healthy Diet
Food plays a huge part in overcoming illness and injury. Not only does it fuel our bodies, but it also helps us to maintain a positive attitude and stay motivated. While it might be tempting to reach for the chocolate or chips, this almost certainly isn’t going to help. Sugary and fatty snacks are going to do more harm than good. Instead, focus on protein-rich foods such as lean meat and poultry, yogurt, and eggs.
What's more, protein is important for muscle development and maintenance, so if you’re suffering from a strain or sprain, this is the food group to go for. You should also add plenty of fruits and vegetables that contain vitamin C to your diet. It’s an antioxidant and anti-inflammatory, so it’s a powerhouse for injury recovery. You can find it in citrus fruits, leafy greens, berries, tomatoes, and broccoli. You could also consider increasing your protein with a specialized protein powder or nutritional supplement to really speed up your recovery time.
It’s probably going to sound like an impossible task, especially if you’re reading this in the initial days after your injury, but staying positive is the key to a better recovery. The first step is to accept your injury and current limitations; fighting against it will only make the experience more difficult and traumatic. Try to fill the time you’d usually spend training with other fun activities; watch your favorite TV show, check out that novel you’ve not found the time to read and spend time cooking the healthiest meals you can. Surrounding yourself with loved ones is also an excellent idea as they’ll lift your spirits and help you to focus on the future. You should also stay focused on what you need to do, not what you could be doing, so use your downtime for setting future goals - either for your sport and fitness activities or for more general life ambitions. Research that new job, find some interesting new holiday destinations and plan some home renovations. Nothing makes time fly past like having something to look forward to, and before you know it, you’ll be back in the gym or on the sports field.