Injuries are no fun, especially when you are striving to be a more active person. The notion of staying inside and resting can be a bummer for a lot of people, which is why they sometimes sabotage their own recovery by being reckless with their healing process. There’s a difference, of course, between sabotaging this process and accelerating it. So if you’ve recently been injured, consider these following tips on how to deal with it.
Rest, Rest, and Rest Some More
While this may not be what you want to hear, the human body needs ample time to rest and recover after a sports- or workout-related injury. Some people want to push through the pain and continue working out or only focus on exercising the muscle groups that were not impacted by the injury. Healing is an all-encompassing process. Your body works overtime to fix and repair the damage done to broken bones, torn muscles, and strained ligaments after a workout-related injury.
Even if you are not pushing through the injury by attempting to exercise the impacted muscles, bones, or ligaments, if you are focusing your workout efforts on strengthening your healthy body parts, you are actually taxing and overworking your body. It requires a significant amount of effort for your body to do its job during the healing process. When you ask it to push harder to work out healthy muscles while you are injured, you are unintentionally forcing your body to work overtime. You increase the chances of sustaining additional injuries or recovering slowly when you continue to try to push yourself instead of resting and healing properly.
It Might Not Be Your Fault
While the severity of the injury may vary, avid exercise enthusiasts are likely to experience some slips, falls, and muscle tears at some point in their lives. Even if you are careful at the weight machines in the gym or while running outside, accidents can and will happen. If your injury is the result of your own negligence or error, there are some important steps you should take, foods you can consume, and supplements you can rely on to help you speed up the recovery process. An injury stemming from faulty equipment could be the grounds for a personal injury claim. Here are some important steps you should take after you have been injured during a workout.
Reduce Your Caloric Intake Appropriately
If you are worried about gaining weight while you are recovering from an exercise-related injury, you can easily maintain your weight by reducing your daily caloric intake. Depending on how many calories you burn during a typical workout session, you may be able to reduce your overall caloric intake to balance the deficit. Just be sure you are eating a minimum of roughly 1200 calories per day if you are a woman and 1500 if you are a man. Dipping below these daily minimums may cause your body to go into starvation mode.
Eat Foods and Supplements That Help Speed Recovery
Depending on the severity of your injury, there are certain foods and supplements that can help speed up your recovery. Foods that are rich in protein are essential for building and repairing the muscles in the body. Increasing your protein intake while you are sidelined with an injury may also reduce inflammation in your body. Some muscle loss is inevitable with a muscle-related injury, so increasing your protein intake can help you retain most of your muscle mass and prevent further loss. Lean meats, omega-rich seafood, beans, nuts, seeds, and tofu are all viable sources of protein.
Fiber-rich foods like vegetables, legumes, whole grains, and leafy greens will help keep you full for a longer period of time. With less snacking in between meals, you may also be able to keep your caloric intake down. Fiber-rich foods often contain magnesium, zinc, and other essential nutrients that aid in recovery. Foods like acidic fruits contain a high amount of vitamin C. This essential vitamin helps to produce collagen, and collagen repairs everything, from your skin and hair to your bones, muscles, and ligaments. Citrus fruits, leafy greens, tomatoes, berries, and papaya all contain very high amounts of vitamin C. To boost your recovery, you may also want to consider taking a vitamin C supplement. Talk to your doctor or a licensed practitioner to determine if a vitamin C supplement will help speed up your recovery.
Broken Bone Recovery
If your injury resulted in a broken bone, you need to increase the amount of calcium and vitamin D in your diet to speed up the healing process. In addition to increasing bone density and helping to repair broken bones, calcium also helps with muscle spasms and contractions as well. Okra, almonds, leafy greens, dairy products, seaweed, and tofu all contain high amounts of calcium. If your injury resulted in ACL surgery, your doctor may prescribe you a vitamin D supplement.
If you have been taking creatine for bigger muscle gains in the gym, you may also be surprised to find out that the supplement also helps you recover from surgery. Increasing your creatine consumption, either by taking a pill supplement or mixing the powder form into your morning smoothie, may help you continue to build and repair muscles as you recover.
Joint Pain and Injury Recovery
If you are suffering from joint pain as a result of your injury, you may want to consider taking a glucosamine supplement. Glucosamine is a naturally occurring substance in the body that is found in the fluid that surrounds your joints. It helps to create tendons, ligaments, and cartilage. All of these are essential in supporting the joints, muscles, and bones. Check with a licensed health professional before starting a glucosamine supplement. Certain prescription medications may interfere with glucosamine and vice versa.
Recovering from a sports- or exercise-related injury takes time. If working out is something you look forward to each day, you may feel a sense of depression in being forced to rest and break your routine. The more you can commit to your recovery and give your body the time it needs to heal, the faster you will be back to your old exercise routine.
Take this time to explore some new hobbies, get some fresh air and vitamin D, meditate, and aid your recovery in productive and healthy ways. Once you have been medically cleared to start working out again, you want to start back up very slowly. Warm up and cool down your body appropriately, stretch your muscles, and take it very slowly. If you were running marathons before your injury, you may literally have to learn to walk again before you can expect to run.