Being physically injured is never a nice experience, and it’s even worse if you are normally very athletic and sporty. Injuries mean losing out on training time, sitting out on sports games, and generally feeling defeated. However, the challenges that you face during the recovery time can inspire you to improve in the future. You can come back better and even stronger mentally and physically, but it’s important to take the right steps to ensure that your body and mind bounces back.
Get Medical Attention
It can be tempting to try and walk it off when you’ve gotten hurt. And in some cases, a little bit of resting and stretching might be all it takes to have you back to normal again. But if the pain you’re experiencing has not gone away after this or has even gotten worse, you know that you are suffering from an injury, and getting the right medical attention will be crucial to your recovery. With the right medical treatment, your doctor can help you with putting together a recovery plan that is best for you. This might involve an exercise-based rehabilitation program with a personal trainer or physical therapist who can help you correct bad movement patterns and other imbalances to reduce your risk of further injury in the future.
Fuel Your Body
Right now, your body needs rest and the right nutrients in order to ensure that it is in with the best chance of healing quickly and bouncing back even better than before. During your recovery period, a diet that is filled with the right nutrients and adequate hydration is absolutely essential. If you have sustained a muscle injury, eating protein-rich foods like lean meats, oily fish, and eggs will ensure that your muscles have all the right nutrients and fuel to effectively heal. Avoid sugar, white flour, and alcohol in your diet and consider adding a supplement like MSM, glutamine, or chondroitin to help rebuild injured joints.
While rest might be necessary for the early stages after sustaining the injury, once you start to feel like you are able to, it’s a good idea to exercise gently and keep your body moving. Depending on the type of injury that you have sustained, you might want to consider gently moving your body by walking, swimming, or riding a stationary bike. Your doctor or physical therapist will be able to help you decide which type of gentle exercise is best for you right now. It’s a wise idea to choose a low-impact exercise that allows you to move without putting a large deal of pressure on the affected joints, muscles, or ligaments. Strength training is also often advisable for any parts of your body that are unaffected by the injury.
Get Enough Sleep
Our body repairs itself while we are sleeping, so it’s no surprise that sleep is the number-one thing prescribed for anybody who has suffered a sports injury. Now more than ever, it’s important to ensure that you have a comfortable bed to rest in and are getting 7-9 hours of high-quality sleep each night. If you find yourself tossing and turning at night because you are uncomfortable, consider a hybrid mattress. In this review of the best hybrid mattresses, you can learn more about the different beds available and figure out the best choice for your personal needs.
Acknowledge Your Feelings
If you play sports professionally, the emotional effects of being injured and sidelined as a result can often be even worse than the physical pain, especially if it meant that you have had to lose out on a big game or had a big impact on your sporting career. Shock, anger, sadness, grief, and denial are not uncommon feelings right now, and some athletes who are put out of action due to an injury might even develop depression or other mental health problems as a result. If you are feeling particularly down after an injury, it’s a good idea to speak to your doctor about how you have been feeling. They can refer you to somebody who can help you cope better and provide counselling.
Go Back Slowly
Depending on how long the sports injury has put you out of action, you will need to be ready for a slow return back to normality. If you have had to rest for a long time in order to recover, chances are that you’re going to need to start training again from a lower level and build yourself back up to your previous level of fitness and endurance. Before diving back into the fitness routine that you were used to, focus on improving your muscular endurance and ensuring that you have the correct form. After a sports injury, you may not be able to run as far or as fast as you could beforehand, or lift the same heavyweights, so give yourself plenty of time to build your training back up again and gently ease yourself back into your previous routine.
Set Small Goals
Even if you are eager for things to get back to normal, it’s natural to feel nervous about it when you are recovering from a sports injury. Fearing getting injured again and experiencing lower confidence levels as a result is not uncommon. However, while injuries are sometimes unavoidable when it comes to any physical activity, it’s highly unlikely that you are going to get hurt again right away. You can help yourself out by starting out slow and setting small goals to build your strength and endurance up, avoiding putting too much pressure on your body to perform immediately after coming back. Small, attainable goals allow you to continue achieving something without getting too intense immediately and help you reduce your risk of re-aggravating the old injury or sustaining a new one due to being out of practice.
Sports injuries can happen to anybody who has an active lifestyle and takes part in sports or other physical activities. While they can be painful and put you out of action for some time, focusing on the above as you recover will help you bounce back quickly and better than ever.