Sidelined Again -- Tips for the Injured Exercise Enthusiast
One thing I'm an expert on is....how to get injured! Ugh. Injury has plagued me more times than I'd like to admit. I was blessed with extremely rigid, high arched feet, as well as a patch of cartilage missing behind my knee cap, so I am very injury prone. Mix that with being an endurance athlete junkie, and an injury is bound to ensue. Every time I get hurt, I promise myself I won't let it happen again. But the competitive nature in me tends to take over, I push my limits, I want to see what I'm capable of....and BAM! I get sidelined. Aaaagain. In fact, I'm currently icing my foot as I sit here typing, in an attempt to calm down a bout of peroneal tendonitis.
So, this post isn't going to teach you how to prevent injury (I'll let the hubby chime in on that at a later time ;) ). Today I'm going to give you a few tips to maintain your fitness (and your SANITY!) while you are sidelined. There is sooo much you CAN do, even while injured. And trust me, it will make coming back so much easier, and it will keep you in a good/positive mental state. But a word of caution....always always ALWAYS listen to your body. If it hurts, don't do it. And as always, make sure to consult with your physician first too ;)
Focus on NUTRITION! When you're hurt, this is a great time to focus on what you are fueling your body with! If you fuel your body with junk while you're sidelined, chances are you will feel like junk too. Plus, you'll be depriving yourself of vital nutrients that are important for recovery. Your daily calorie requirement is likely to be down a bit from your normal, so be mindful of what you eat. Make your choices nutritious. Start meal planning and prepping. Track what you eat. And if you need help with nutrition, give us a shout at Fueled4Wellness! We have a nutrition program that works with or without exercise, PLUS it will help you to stay accountable AND maintain as much muscle mass as possible while you're recovering.
Strength Train! Depending on the injury you have, it's likely that you can incorporate low-impact strength training into your routine. Not only will this get you moving and help give you your "exercise fix", it will also help maintain (or build!) muscle mass. This will help to keep your metabolism up, and will even help maintain your cardiovascular fitness for when you come back full force! Depending on the type and severity of your injury, you may have to modify, or stick to upper body only. Over the past couple weeks I've gotten in some incredible upper body workouts that are no impact to my foot -- all exercises are either laying on the ground, kneeling, or seated --all while wearing "the boot". Additionally, you can incorporate mini bands to get low-impact leg and booty work. TRX straps are another excellent option!
Flexibility and Yoga! If you haven't tried it before, try out some yoga! I started incorporating yoga into my exercise routine 1-2 times per week a few years ago, and I'll never look back! Yoga makes you FEEL good. It is a great mental break. And an added bonus -- the added core strength and flexibility it gives can help PREVENT injuries from incurring in the future.
Cardio! Just because you can't run doesn't mean you can't get in a cardio fix! Try something new (as long as your injury permits). Most likely, you can still go for walks or bike rides while injured. But be careful. If it hurts, don't do it! I had to stop all walks and bike rides with my current injury because it didn't feel good, which is devastating to me. But if it's going to delay healing, it's NOT worth it! Buuuuut...with that being said, I've still managed to "think outside the box", and over the past few days I've gotten some great cardio workouts doing seating shadow boxing and seated chair workouts. There's a ton of these workout available for free on YouTube. Who woulda thought!?
Rest. Enjoy resting a bit. I know that I am one who loves exercise, but everyone needs a break now and then. So if you are hurt, use this time for a little break too. Use this time for a little grace. And let your body HEAL.
There you have it...a few tips on how to maintain your fitness and your sanity when you're sidelined with an injury! I'm working on these now....and I'm also promising myself that this will be the last time I have to deal with this. Anyone with me!?