How to Stay on Track When You're Injured

Updated on March 15, 2019
Alyssa Nichol profile image

Alyssa has a passion for fitness and sharing her favorite tips and tricks with the world. Alyssa is a wife, a mom, and a coffee enthusiast.

Safety first.
Safety first.

One of the worst things is having to stop working out or severely limit your routine when you are finally noticing physical results from your exercise program because of an injury or illness. It throws off your normal routine and can feel incredibly defeating. The biggest hurdle is your mind.

You should always listen to your body and honor what it needs. When something goes wrong, that's the body's way of letting you know it's time to rest, slow down, or reconsider what you're doing.

You should always check with your doctor if something doesn't feel right. If you are injured, seeking medical attention will give you answers, letting you know what's wrong, and guidance of how to heal and what you should do moving forward.

These are the things I find helpful when I have to take a step back because of extreme soreness or when I exacerbate old injuries.

Nutrition

I'm not good at following restrictive diets. I'm not into Keto, Paleo, or any other nutrition based plan. You certainly won't find me advocating for "cheat meals" or "cheat days." That type of nutrition has never worked for me. I live my life by the motto: everything in moderation. When I'm unable to workout, or when I have to modify my routine, I start craving all the delicious food that isn't good for me: salty snacks, like chips; decadent desserts, like gelato and chocolate. A small portion does nothing to satisfy the pull in my brain.

Recently, I fractured my ankle. This has really put a damper on my current routine. In addition, I'm still in the process of healing my shoulders from an injury back in October. Fun times.

When you can go about your normal fitness routine, everything in moderation is a perfectly acceptable plan. However, when you have to modify for injuries, nutrition becomes that much more important. You have to be mindful of what you are eating, making sure that you are choosing foods that are healthy and will contribute not only to your fitness goals, but also to your body's recovery effort. You have to fuel your body properly so that it can heal. Try to steer clear of the treats. Choose lean proteins and make sure you are eating your vegetables. As always, it's important to drink water to stay hydrated.

Something that has really worked for me is Intermittent Fasting. This seems to be a growing trend among people who want to lose weight, but you have to make sure you are doing it properly. The idea is to give your body time to fully digest the food you've eaten, allowing your body to get into a state where it can better metabolize nutrients, lower your insulin level, and focus on repairing itself. There are many health benefits that go along with fasting. For me, I've noticed that I feel better overall. I'm less bloated and I have more energy throughout my day.

Intermittent Fasting is a focus on when to eat, not what you are eating. In simple terms, you go for a period of time without eating and have a window of time when you are eating. This can differ person to person initially and takes time to build up to the recommended windows. When I first started, I would go 13 hours fasting, and have an eating window of 11 hours. Each day, I tried to increase my fasting time. My sweet spot for about a month was 13.5 hours of fasting, with a 10.5 hour window to get in my meals. Since I hurt my ankle, I have been paying closer attention to what I'm eating, choosing better quality foods. As a result, I'm now between 16 to 18 hours of fasting, with an 8 - 6 hour window for meals.

For me, the biggest key to success with Intermittent Fasting is paying attention to what I'm eating, ensuring that I'm not consuming an abundance of calories during my eating window. This keeps me on track with my weight loss and fitness goals. I've included a few helpful videos below if you want to learn more about Intermittent Fasting.

How to do Intermittent Fasting for Serious Weight Loss - Dr. Eric Berg

Intermittent Fasting | Why Some People Lose Weight & Others Don't - Tracy Hensel

Sleep

Chances are you aren't getting enough sleep. We lead busy, modern lifestyles and have many demands, from work, children's activities, family time, housework, calendars are full and the to-do list is endless. Getting enough rest, especially when you are trying to recover from an injury, is important. Sleep deprivation is no joke. When you are tired, you get hungry more often, your metabolism is disrupted, you are less likely to exercise, your ability to focus and concentrate is limited, and it can leave you feeling cranky. Not good. Make sure you are making sleep a priority when you are injured. The body needs rest to properly heal.

It can be hard to get a good night's rest when you're so achy that you can't get comfortable. For those times, I like to have a hot bath. You can add bath bomb to give yourself a luxurious spa like experience, or if you are able, try adding some Epsom Salt. An Epsom Salt soak can ease tired, achy muscles and make it easier to fall asleep. I also love using my heating pad throughout the day. Ice packs can help ease pain, too. Another trick is to use Icy Hot. Icy Hot now offers creams and patches with Lidocaine in them and they are incredible for pain-relief!

The Feldenkrais Method

After suffering a back and hip injury, I searched YouTube for some pain-relief movements and came across The Feldenkrais Method. I've incorporated Feldenkrias movements into my daily routine ever since. The Feldenkrais Method was developed by Moshe Feldenkrais, and it focuses on a mind-body connection with movement. It improves function, flexibility, and is wonderful for finding pain-relief. It has been instrumental for my shoulder rehabilitation. I have a few favorite channels on YouTube and have included a few videos for you to check out below.

Unglue the shoulders! The Feldenkrais Way - Feldenkrais Moments with Stewart Hamblin

The foot and its toes (1) My happy healthy feet - Feldenkrais With Alfons

Yoga

Last, but not least, yoga. I always recommend yoga because it has done so much for me. It improves flexibility, muscle coordination, and cardiovascular health. It's also a great way to combat stress and anxiety. Most importantly for me, it's a way to keep moving no matter my injuries. Yoga is for everyone and it can be modified to any level. If you can't get on the floor, you can easily sit in a chair. If you have weak wrists, you can work toward building strength in them. It will help your core, reduce or even eliminate your back pain. Best of all, it helps you build a mind-body connection that you can take off the mat into your daily life. Yoga is life-changing and you don't need much to start. If you have a mat, awesome! If you don't, you can use carpet, a blanket, or a towel. I love using random items around my house as props: a book for a yoga block and a scarf as a yoga strap. Your only limit is you. My favorite yogi on YouTube is Yoga With Adriene. She breaks down every pose, walking you through all the steps, and making it fun. I've included one of my favorite videos for you to try below.

Yoga For Complete Beginners - 20 Minute Home Yoga Workout - Yoga With Adriene

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

Questions & Answers

    © 2019 Alyssa

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      • Alyssa Nichol profile imageAUTHOR

        Alyssa 

        7 months ago from Ohio

        That's wonderful to hear, Dora! Keep up the great work! Thank you for your kind words. I am trying to take it easy and rest. Have a wonderful weekend! :)

      • Alyssa Nichol profile imageAUTHOR

        Alyssa 

        7 months ago from Ohio

        Thank you, Pamela! As I've gotten older, I have realized the value of sleep, and tried to make it my top priority. I've been doing IF for about two months consistently and I love it! I hope more people give it a try and see if it's right for them. Have a wonderful Sunday! :)

      • Alyssa Nichol profile imageAUTHOR

        Alyssa 

        7 months ago from Ohio

        That's incredible, Bill! I seem to be the exact opposite lately. haha!

      • MsDora profile image

        Dora Weithers 

        7 months ago from The Caribbean

        Thanks for sharing these helpful ideas. I've just begun the intermittent fasting and I think I'm seeing results. Best to you as you continue to heal.

      • Pamela99 profile image

        Pamela Oglesby 

        7 months ago from Sunny Florida

        I like your suggestions as sleep and appropriate exercise is essential to feeling good from day to day. I think interittent fasting is healthy for many people. Thanks for all the great suggestions.

      • billybuc profile image

        Bill Holland 

        7 months ago from Olympia, WA

        All good suggestions, of course. I've only been laid up once in my life, a back surgery in 1989...that's it, knock on wood. My Energizer Bunny body seems to be immune to injury or illness. Having said that, I'm sure I'll cripple myself this weekend. lol Have a great weekend, Alyssa!

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