Summer is now well and truly here. For many of us this means that we’ll be jetting away on holiday soon and just itching to show off our bikini ready bodies. Or simply getting ready to turn some heads with some summer ready clothes that show off our newly toned gym fit bodies. If, however, your progress at the gym has been hindered by injury at the gym or in team sports or the effects of chronic illness. It can be a very frustrating time of year. As we see our friends slim down and tone up with apparent ease. We can fall into the habit of putting ourselves down and falling into a downward spiral of depression as we cover our friends enviably fit bodies. But injury needn’t permanently derail your health, fitness and positive body image goals.
Address all the different facets of recovery. And you’ll find yourself off the couch and smashing your personal bests before you know it.
This is without a doubt the most important aspect of recovery. And needless to say it’s also the one that can take the most time. If you’ve been injured in a painful or traumatic experience it can take a long time until you feel that you can get back on the horse. The most effective way of dealing with this is by phasing in gym visits gradually. If you’re accustomed to regular exercise, your brain will be dependent upon the regular hit of endorphins and dopamine that you got from your workouts. Deprived of this it’s likely that your emotions will crash. Thus, you need to take steps to get these hits back. Even if it’s just through attending the gym for gentle exercise under the supervision of a personal trainer.
Depending on the nature of your injury, regular stretching may not be enough to facilitate a full recovery. Indeed, going back to the gym without checking with your doctor or pursuing a course of physiotherapy may do more harm than good. A physio will be able to give you special exercises and stretches to restore muscle and joint mobility and facilitate proper healing in ways that will see you get consistent gains.
Never underestimate the importance of diet in healing injured tissue. Just as you can’t expect to see optimal gains in your workout without the right diet. You can’t expect a full and speedy recovery unless your nutrition is on point. The trouble is that when we are injured and / or feeling down we tend to gravitate towards high calorie, low nutrient comfort foods that can actually impede our recovery. Make sure that your every plate is full of these naturally nourishing foods which are proven to repair damaged tissue and speed up your recovery. Of course the odd treat once a week is absolutely fine to manage cravings and modulate your insulin response. But keep your treats rare and delicious.
In your fervour to get back on the horse, just remember that you’re only human. You can’t expect to pick up your old regimen right where you left off just a couple of weeks after injury. Find an instructor or PT who will guide you in building a new regimen. That will get you back on track without compromising your recovery.
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