You’re killing it on the treadmill, running your final three-minute sprint at a scorching pace. Next weekend you’ll pile into a van with your pals to take turns running an ultra relay on the roads day and night. You’ve got the last 10-mile leg to the finish line where you’re going to CRUSH your personal record! A woman waves to you on her way to the locker room. You smile and remember you still have the headphones she loaned to you. And, just like that, your concentration has broken. Your right foot kicks your left ankle. You try to grab the bars on the mill to right yourself, but end up folding like a captain’s chair and are ejected off the belt. You are out of the running and the only thing “crushed” is your plan. A personal trainer rushes to aid you. You sit, holding your swelling ankle. You’re injured… sound familiar?
Workout Injury? No Problem!
When you’re injured the physical wounds are only part of the picture. Step one in healing is psychological- admitting you’re injured. Many people try to exercise through pain. Why? Stopping can be scary. You might have insecurities about losing skill during an unplanned break. These feelings can intensify with the sudden isolation from a support network; teammates, trainers and workout buddies. Anxiety about time off for recovery can stymie healing.
Some people think a workout injury means they have to stay out of the gym. However, that’s not the case. The gym might be the best place to be when recovering from an injury. It just involves a creating a new training plan. The time you spend working out while one part of your body heals can allow you to focus on other areas of fitness you might have been neglecting. But, before you stuff your shorts into your bag and rush back to the gym, some planning is advised, lest you end up doing further damage.
First, have a frank talk with a doctor or physical therapist to make sure it is o.k. for you to exercise. Once cleared, it’s time to get creative! Think about bodyweight exercises, resistance tubing, pool exercise, indoor cycling, Yoga, rowing, elliptical machines and all the other options at the gym you haven’t tried. Remember that physical fitness includes balance and flexibility in addition to cardiovascular fitness and muscular strength. Zone in on an area you might have been neglecting.
Joseph Pilates recognized the opportunities injury presents. He developed methods to help rehabilitate soldiers injured in World War I. Later, he shared his techniques to dancers. He devised ways to train injured individuals and resolve muscular imbalances by focusing on strength, rather than dwelling on weakness. The Pilates Method continues to grow in popularity, mainly because it is based on “can-dos,” rather than “cant’s.”
Avoid the injured-list blues. Figure out what you CAN DO and crush the can’t!’