Let’s say running, cycling, weight training or swimming is as much a part of your identity as your name. How do you cope when accidents or overuse lead to injury? Here are a few tips to recover from minor athletic injuries and prevent them in the future.
If you have a moderate to severe injury that causes chronic pain or limits your mobility, you should see a healthcare professional right away.
Some active or athletic individuals are tempted to ignore minor injuries. Don’t. A slight injury can compound on lead to others if not properly treated, so the first order of business is to limit any activities that cause pain or that led to the injury. Try RICE therapy—rest, ice, compression, and elevation. Resist the urge to continue your activities as normal.
Do Muscle Recovery the Right Way
If you have a personal trainer or physical therapist, consult with this professional to develop a rehabilitation plan. Depending on the injury, you may benefit from stretching, light aerobic activity, massage, or yoga. These activities all promote muscle healing and recovery.
It’s also a good idea to eat clean during recovery. Avoid sugary, refined, or processed foods. Instead, choose fruits, veggies, whole grains, and good sources of protein along with plenty of water. In addition, Men’s Fitness writer, Jennifer Cohen recommends supplementing with glutamine or MSM and chondroitin to support joint health.
Ease Back into Training
Continue your prescribed rehabilitation plan for several weeks. Even when the pain, stiffness or swelling has resolved, you should still take it easy. Returning to your previous training all at once can lead to a setback, so go in slow and build up the intensity and duration of your training over time.
Prevent Injuries Before They Happen
If an injury has already occurred, there’s nothing you can do but recover. However, being aware of a few common mistakes and avoiding them can lessen your chances of becoming injured in the future. The most common reasons many people sustain injuries is overdoing it or failing to use proper form.
Prevent this by working with an experienced personal trainer or fitness coach who can assess and correct your form and design a personalized training plan. Working with a professional will drastically reduce your injuries, which means less time away from your training, greater physical health and well-being, and ultimately more gains.
Header photo by Jenny Hill on Unsplash