How often do we hear, “play through the pain” or “it will get better once you start moving it?” when we sustain an injury? More often than not, these slogans are more harmful than helpful. If your body says that it’s hurt, then take the message seriously and use your mind to help the healing process along. Not listening to your body is a good way to aggravate an injury.
Don’t think of that nagging injury as putting the brakes on your training progress. Instead, look at it as an opportunity to reassess how you train for or approach your favorite sport. Shift your mindset and understand that the time off during the healing process will serve you better in the long run. It will give your body the proper time it needs to heal, and it will rejuvenate and refresh you.
This is exactly the time to employ the age-old adage “mind over matter.” Being injured doesn’t mean you have to do nothing. Be creative. Do some research on how to prevent another injury in the future. Investigate new conditioning techniques like functional training, which is a strength and conditioning program which concentrates on training your body for real-life activity.
Do some reading and learn about new training techniques specific to your favorite sports and workout activities. You might even visit your local sporting goods store and take a look at the latest equipment while you are resting.
Take advantage of your downtime to explore activities that may help speed your recovery time, like yoga or Pilates. These activities may actually enhance and improve your performance by strengthening core muscles, without aggravating injured ones. You might even talk to a personal trainer who specializes in injury recovery. Find ways to not only recover, but to become stronger than before.
Above all, use common sense and follow suggested treatment guidelines. If your body says it hurts, listen. When in doubt, wait. An extra day or two of rest will only help, and never hurt.
Just as we train our bodies to perform, we have to train our minds to handle those inevitable injuries. Be patient, think through the pain and let your body heal.