No matter how to fit or experienced you are, anyone of us can be injured while working out. Whether you’ve pulled a muscle or done some more serious damage, it can be frustrating to get hurt doing something that is meant to be good for you. Recovery is important, as it can help you get back to full fitness much faster. Here’s how to recover in the right way.
Of course, the best way to deal with workout injuries is to avoid them altogether.
Always warm-up and cool down. Every workout that you do should start with a gentle warm-up. This prepares your body for the exercise by increasing your heart rate and loosening your muscles and joints. You could warm up by riding an exercise bike, skipping with a rope or jogging for five to ten minutes. After you work out, you should cool down to slowly bring your heart rate back to normal. Walking for five to ten minutes is an easy way to do this.
Remember to stretch. Some dynamic stretching before and after exercise can help a lot. These stretches help to increase your flexibility and reduce the risk of injury. Stretch after your warm-up and cool down.
If you’re starting a new exercise routine or trying a new activity, start off slowly until you get used to it. When you’re more used to it, you can work on building up the intensity, duration, and frequency of the exercise. Don’t push yourself too hard in the beginning.
Cross-train and vary your workout. Try not to overuse one set of muscles all the time. If you’re repeating the same muscle movements, this can lead to overuse, injury and repetitive-use injuries like tendinitis. Some people alternate working out their lower and upper body. Some people separate their workouts into ‘push’ and ‘pull’ muscles. You could also just mix up your activities, such as running on one day, swimming on others, and lifting weights later in the week.
Know your trouble spots. If you know you have a problem with a certain area, do some work to strengthen it. For example, if you are prone to back pain, you can build up your core muscles to better support your spine. Avoid any exercises that hurt and always take advice from your Doctor before you do this.
Treating A Workout Injury
Injuries can happen to anyone, no matter how careful you are when you exercise. If you do develop a workout injury, follow the RICE method to prevent it from becoming a more serious problem. The RICE method means:
- R: Rest the injury. Take the time to properly rest so the body can put energy into healing.
- I: Ice the injury to bring down any swelling or inflammation.
- C: Compression bandages should be worn to further reduce any swelling.
- E: Elevate the injury if possible to reduce the swelling.
If you’re struggling with pain and inflammation after an injury you can take nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medicines like ibuprofen to help. Be careful not to mask the pain too much though, as this can lead you to do too much on the injured area too soon if you can’t read your body’s pain signals.
Most injuries will heal on their own in around four weeks or less. If you aren’t seeing improvement after a week, or it seems to be getting worse, seek out medical care. You could see your Doctor, or if you’re worried about your back, you could arrange to see a top chiropractor for help with recovery.
Give yourself enough time to heal. Until you are fully healed, avoid the activity that triggered the injury in the first place and any activity that will put a strain on the injured area. You can stay active in other ways, as long as you’re careful. Use your common sense to do this. For example, if you have sprained your wrist, you can keep active with walking. If you have hurt ankle, exercise your upper body.
After recovery, wait to make sure you are properly healed. You should be pain-free for a week before returning to your usual exercise routine. Start back slowly and take it easy. You may have lost fitness during your recovery period and will need to rebuild your strength and endurance. Pushing too hard may end up in your getting injured again. Try to be patient.
With these tips, you can avoid long-lasting injury and keep fit and active with minimal issues.