Your body has a funny way of getting what it wants from you. When you refuse to use common sense (progressive training, taking rest days, switching up your workouts), it may send other signals, such as a small nagging pain or something else within your system (this could be a myriad of symptoms that are not within my professional capacity to discuss) to let you know it’s time to change things up or rest up.
I can’t pinpoint the exact moment I injured myself, but looking back on that week, I had done some unusual combination of single leg workouts, thrown in running, some beach volleybalI and probably a circuit. Then one afternoon I was limping. WHAT? There was no moment of injury, the pain I was feeling was nothing I could find on the internet (yet another smart move by yours truly, I never said I wasn’t stubborn!) and our snowboarding trip was 4 days away.
I took swift action, resting my leg, icing, not working out and by the weekend I was ready to snowboard. Besides, I thought, my foot would be in a boot – it wouldn’t be moving.
I felt pretty good after, took it easy that whole week, even played beach volleyball again the following weekend. Then I threw in some tennis – apparently I was NOT getting the message. My foot felt that discomfort again and so I backpedaled again and backed off the workouts.
You’re probably getting the message right?!? I hadn’t been resting enough, training too hard, not listening to my body when I got hurt and didn’t even see a doctor.
Long story short, I was diagnosed with tendonitis, no more high impact anything for a long while (whaaaaaaaa). Fortunately I got my wits about me (because, perspective) and threw myself into core and back training with a focus on achieving more pull-ups and to be stronger and more stable overall.
I learned it the hard way. But to me it was also a blessing in disguise. Any injury, no matter how small or big is an opportunity to work on some fundamentals. Most experts will also tell you that the sight of the injury is not always the only problem. This is as good a time as any to check up and down your kinetic chain to ensure you have the best mobility for your ability and all parts of your body are as strong as they can be for overall movement.
In my case, I worked on three things:
My core strength – Increased pilates to two times a week and spent more time working on hip stability and glute activation in the form of band work. I like this one – specifically part 1 from FitnessRX for Women. Let me tell you – band work is effective!
Strengthen another area of the body – I had been working on my handstands for the last two years, so I thought this was also a great time to focus on my back strength. I added a workout focused completely on my back once a week. The results speak for themselves. (When I get a wee bit more tech savvy I’ll insert a video, for now you can check out my pull ups on Facebook)
Rehab of the injury, as well as maintaining existing strength – Performed my PT recommended exercises every other day and made sure to get plenty of rest. Identified (and continue to do so) cardiovascular exercises that are not high impact, but still give me the sweat I crave and the conditioning I need.
When restarting your exercise program, take it slow and make sure you are paying extra attention to your body’s signals. Here are some great tips from ACE Fitness on getting back to fitness from an injury.
As I’ve been working my way back, other important reminders keep popping up…. Rest and nutrition is very important after an injury (and at any time, but more on that another day). Make a point to get adequate sleep especially after a workout and feed your body so it can heal and get stronger again. And, most importantly, be aware that time focusing on other elements may actually make you stronger.
Working my way back to higher weights and more challenging movements, I’ve picked up where I left off as it pertains to strength. The biggest difference is I’m more confident and more stable overall and possibly stronger!
In summary, listen to your body, consult with a professional, and allow your body time to heal. And who knows, perhaps you will be inspired to take on a new sport like this runner featured in WSJ!