Whether you teach exercise for a living, or you just love your workouts, having an injury can be a major setback! This isn’t just a physical setback, but also an emotional one. Regular exercise has benefits beyond having a hard body, although that’s a nice side effect! Studies show that moderate to vigorous exercise completed regularly is an effective way to deal with depression. So what happens when you loose your ability to get your daily fix? You not only lose fitness but also all those feel-good endorphins you’re accustomed to experiencing. Having had many acute and some chronic injuries myself, here are fa ew suggestions that have worked for me.
When I’ve been hurt to the degree I can’t do much of anything, like broken bones, severe muscle tears, or a recent surgery, I’ve found other ways to feel balanced and normal such as:
- Surrounding myself with supportive friends,
- Watching a movie,
- Practicing gentle movement,
- Taking a stroll around the neighborhood, and
- Knitting or other crafts can help.
When I was first diagnosed with an autoimmune disease and was unable to work or play, I discovered the art of mosaics and the craft of knitting.
If it’s an injury to a specific area of the body that keeps you from your usual activities, try a change of scenery. When I had my shoulder replaced, I took up hiking and walking. While my activity of choice is riding a bike, but thanks to injuries I found that I also love a long hike.
Doing my physical therapy exercises in the pool instead of a typical gym setting stopped me from feeling helpless. Feeling empowered is also an important part of healing. When I had a stress fractured foot and had a soft cast and boot, I couldn’t do any lower body training, so I started doing heavy strength training for my upper body and core.
Chronic injuries can also cause a lot of problems. I have significant scoliosis and consequently, experience chronic lower back pain. When I was rehabbing my shoulder in the therapy pool, I started having swimming dreams. I would see myself smoothly slicing through the sunlit water. So as soon as I was able, I graduated from the therapy pool into swimming laps (a different kind of therapy!) I discovered that swimming was phenomenal at relieving my back pain. It’s now a regular on my workout menu.
I don’t think of injuries as a setback, I think of them as an opportunity to discover new and exciting workouts. Instead of standing and staring at a closed door, I move down the hallway to the next door to see what great new activities await!