The unfortunate thing has happened: you got hurt. Whether it was by your own actions or the capricious nature of the universe, an injury has afflicted you. Thankfully, the recovery has gone well and you’re ready to get back into moving around and exercising. However, you may feel apprehensive about hurting yourself again. That’s a normal and valid thing to feel no matter what you experienced. Here are four things to keep in mind as you get back into investing in yourself with exercise:
- Listen to your doctors: This should be common sense for most of us. Assuming your injury required medical attention, you should always follow a doctor’s recommendations for resuming exercise. They know what they’re talking about and how to best move so as to not re-injure yourself. Ignore them at your own peril.
- Take it slow: Especially if your injury was caused due to exercise, you do not want to jump right back to the same level you were before your injury. You don’t have the same level of ability as you did then so trying to go for a personal best right after you got hurt is only going to make things worse for you. Start out small, then gradually increase the difficulty over a period of time, usually a week or two.
- Listen to your body: This gets complicated, especially after getting hurt. Your brain and your body will do what it can to protect itself, which at first is a good thing to prevent further injury. If we live in fear of exacerbating the injury or feeling, it can lead to muscle imbalances and overcompensation. Do your movements correctly and see how your body reacts. Don’t push too hard, but don’t let the anxiety beat you. Keep correct form and take it slow.
- Be Patient with Yourself: Probably most important of all. Healing takes time, sometimes more than we’d like to allow. Your body needs that time however. Take some time and see if you can learn to give yourself that space to get what you need. This is an extremely difficult skill to learn. Practicing mindfulness on a regular basis will help a lot with it. Know that you’ll save yourself a lot of pain if you can give yourself a break.
Injuries can happen to anyone at any time for nearly any reason. The likelihood of experiencing one is high, so having skills in place ready to deal with it is quite beneficial. When it does happen, make sure you listen to your doctors, take it slow, listen to your body and be patient with yourself. When all is said and done, you can get back to your life, hale and hearty, leaving that injury in the past where it belongs.