Make no mistake if you have suffered any kind of injury while working out at the gym or anywhere else, you need to act quickly. If you want a swift recovery, you have to know what to do.
How fast you recover depends on which part of your body got injured, the type of injury you suffered, and how severe your injuries are. It also helps if you took quick action right when the injury happened.
A little bit of preparation for injuries can have a big impact on how quickly you get back to your normal routine. I’ve seen very healthy and fit guys turn into blobs because an injury blindsided them.
They didn’t know what hit them and they were not ready. By the time they fully recovered, they had adopted a more sedentary and workout-free lifestyle. Now they have the large guts and fat necks and jowls that showcase their high calories intake low calorie burn lifestyles.
This doesn’t have to happen to you.
Still, you have to keep in mind that sports and soft tissue injury can happen to anybody at any time. No ones immune to this.
What we can control is our level of preparation. Keep the following tips in mind so you don’t end up losing that fit and muscular body you worked so hard for at the gym.
Quick Thinking can Greatly Decrease Injury Recovery Time
Remember: the sooner you recover, the better off you would be. It’s very easy for your exercise routine to get thrown off by an injury. If you don’t have a plan for dealing with your injury, your recovery time can take far longer than you expected. Maybe your ‘treatment’ or response made your injury worse. Maybe you got so emotionally affected by the pain and discomfort of your injury, it took you a much longer time to recover.
All these can have a seriously negative effect on your workout routine.
Right before your injury, going to the gym was probably second nature to you. It was just something that you did. It was automatic.
The problem is when you suffer some downtime because of your injury, you quickly start developing bad habits. You start thinking of a million and one excuses not to go to the gym. You start thinking of it as more of a hassle than something fun and exciting you look forward to. You forget the tremendous rush endorphins bring. In short, your overall sports discipline starts to break down.
Once your workout discipline goes, it is going to be an uphill battle to get back to where you were. Seriously. Think of it this way, it took a lot of focus, sacrifice and hard work for you to develop a gym workout habit. Once you lose that habit, you’ll have to go through all that hassle again.
Wouldn’t it be better for you not to lose your gym habit in the first place?
Resolve to Get Back to Your Workout Routine as Quickly as Possible
You have to look at any kind of injury as a potential threat to your healthy lifestyle as well as your physical routine. As much as possible, be quick to apply remedies that can decrease both your injury’s severity as well as your recovery time. By limiting your recovery time to the shortest (yet safe) amount possible, you’re less likely to lose the gym habits you worked so hard to set.
Use RICE as Soon as Possible
RICE is shorthand for Rest, Ice, Compression, and Elevation. This is a quick, and effective response to any kind of soft tissue injury. Not only can RICE help decrease your injury recovery time; it can also decrease its severity.
As much as possible, do not use the injured part of your body. Give it a rest. Don’t use those muscles. Try not to move them. Definitely don’t put any pressure on them.
If you have one available, apply an ice pack to the injured part of your body. If you don’t have an ice pack, go to your freezer and take out a pack of frozen veggies. Apply the cold pack on the injured area’s skin. Make sure that the frozen items inside the packs that you’re using do not directly touch your skin. Keep the ice pack on the injured area until you notice the swelling has gone.
To cut down on swelling, use some sort of elastic bandage or cloth material and wrap it around the injured part of your body. This cuts down on blood flow and helps control swelling. It also provides stability to that sore (and possibly very sensitive) injured area.Elevate the Injured Area
To cut down on swelling, elevate the injured part of your body to a level above your heart. This ensures that the blood doesn’t rush to that area and this goes a long way in cutting down inflammation.
By using RICE as quickly as possible, you can isolate the injured area of your body and this can help you get back to the gym and your normal workout routine as soon as possible.
How do you know it’s time to get back to your workout?
Once you’ve handled the swelling of the injured part of your body, you can go back to the gym. With the right workarounds and recovery strategy, you don’t have to skip a beat as far as working out goes. After you use RICE to handle inflammation, you can safely workout if you follow the tips below.
Try to Get Back to Your Normal Workout Routine as Quickly as You Can
The big secret with injury recovery is to avoid long, extended down times. You can’t allow yourself to be out of commission for too long; otherwise, you may get used to a more sedentary lifestyle. Instead, work out the other non-injured parts of your body.
How to work out the rest of your (non-injured) body
At first, use low-intensity exercises on the non-injured parts of your body. Drop down to a rep and max weight level that is below your normal workout levels.
Give yourself time to get used to working out while a part of your body is injured. Gradually scale up to the intensity level and exercise routines that you used to have prior to your injury.
Don’t rush it!
When scaling up, focus on the ease and comfort of working out while a part of your body is healing. Once you’ve gotten comfortable, scale up. Don’t just rush through the process. Remember, you’re still injured. Your main focus should be on reaching a level of comfort where you can still work out while healing form an injury.
Throughout your workout, make sure you work around the injured part of your body
This is going to take some research and creativity. You have to make sure you work out the parts of your body that are near to the injured part. You might even have to adopt alternative or indirect exercises. As your injury heals, you can adopt more aggressive exercises.
Remember: start low and scale up
Start low and then slowly pick up the pace and intensity of your workout. Eventually, your body will get used to it. Once the injured part of your body is fully healed, you can then start slowly working out that area as well.
Make Sure Your Doctor is Always in the Loop
Whether you’re using the RICE method or you’ve gone back to the gym, make sure your doctor knows what’s going on so your primary care physician can guide you through recovery accordingly.
The Final Word
How you handle injuries can mean a long and healthy gym habit or the end of one. It’s your choice. Choose to be prepared!