As much as people try to avoid injuries and illness, both can occur from time to time. This doesn’t mean we just throw in the towel and stop working towards our health, fitness and performance goals. Why train so hard to undo all the good progress you have made by just giving up? Below I have outlined how to adapt things to still make progress or at the very least slow down the reversibility effect of detraining. Our clients are short on time and when one stops training for an extended period of time (greater than 1 week), they can rapidly lose significant physiological and performance adaptions that could have taken months to achieve.
- Listen to the Professionals
If you get injured and need professional help, whether it be a doctor, physiotherapist, physical therapist etc. it is vital to listen to their recommendations for your recovery. This may seem obvious but far too often we go against their advice at the expense of our bodies. If the injured body part needs full rest, then we should look to fully rest the muscle/joint. If we need to start doing some rehabilitation straight away to recovery more quickly we should do this. When we don’t follow professional advice the risk of further damage to the body part is increased. This could result in long term incapacitation. A professional will prescribe a protocol to help improve the symptoms overtime in a safe manner. This is a much better approach than rushing back from the injury and causing set back after set back, eventually this may lead to chronic pain.
- Stay Active
When we get injured, it is very easy to just put away the training gear and throw ourselves on to the couch. However, doing some sort of physical activity will help aid the recovery and prevent muscle loss as long as it is safe to do so. Firstly, participating in low-intensity aerobic training like walking, cycling and swimming is great for improving blood flow and helps to regenerate cells while help maintaining your fitness levels. Also, resistance training will activate muscle protein synthesis which will cause muscle growth and help our muscles fight against muscle loss (atrophy) caused by the injury.
Similarly, to when fully fit, nutrition is also important when we are injured. While injured there is often inflammation around the area. The consumption of healthy fats and spices like garlic/ginger have an anti-inflammatory effect. This helps reduce swelling and can aid recovery. Consuming adequate protein from foods like meat, eggs and nuts also helps our tissues to remodel quicker and return to its original strength. Finally, be mindful of calorie consumption, since an injury can reduce our physical activity, consequently this will reduce our daily calorie expenditure if we are quite active. So, we don’t need to eat as many calories and run the risk of gaining unwanted body fat.