Anyone that exercises or lives an active life knows that the absolute worst thing that can happen to you is an injury to sideline you from being able to do any kind of physical activity. Most of you reading this blog have been there yourself whether it was from an accident, illness, or human error you caused yourself. Sometimes when an injury occurs it can become a long-term positive asset, but you might not know this yet! I have seen many people come back from an injury with a new found energy that was lacking beforehand. This blog discusses the top ways to deal with an injury and the positive benefits that can come from such a thing.
- Rest- Most of us don’t have the luxury to exercise all day, prepare a healthy meal and take a nap or lounge around watching netflix all day. Having had a few injuries myself the last 15 years, I can honestly say I found something positive out of each one. When we are sidelined with an injury it allows us to sit back and reflect about our fitness goals and take a “forced break” from constantly pushing ourselves through exercise. Not only will your body come back stronger after a break, but your mind will also which often sets the tone for how we feel.
- Something New Part I- Most of us are guilty of doing the same exercises over and over and not pushing ourselves into something new. About 10 years ago, I suffered from a bad case of IT band syndrome and could not run or ride my bike. I was still racing Ironman at an elite level and the only thing I could do was swim. So I swam A LOT! I tripled my weekly swim hours and not only did I take time off my swim splits for triathlon, but it also helped my cycling fitness which all translated into a faster time. Regardless if you compete or not, often times an injury will keep you from your current form of exercise to push you to try new ones that perhaps you have either never done before or used to do years ago.
- Diet- When someone is forced to not exercise like they did prior to an injury or illness it can force that person to have to watch their diet more closely. It is very easy to fall into the trap of trying to “out exercise a bad diet,” but it will never work. I have known many people over the years that have gone through a time frame of injury only to come back eating better than before, as well as trying new eating habits that can help in a positive way!
- Something New Part II- There are a lot of hobbies out there that don’t require exercising to have fun. Often times being sidelined leads us to pursue new hobbies that we have never done nor gave it much thought. I was never one to read for leisure, but an injury 15 years ago forced me to look for more sedentary activities to pass the time. Fast forward to present day and I am constantly searching for new material to read and enhance my education on various subjects.
- Relationships- Most of us that live that fast paced lifestyle often times neglect our relationships with friends and family. When your forced to rest due to injury or illness it can free up time to spend with those around you. Maybe call that college friend you haven’t seen in years that lives near you, or get to more of your children’s practices, or one of my favorite’s which is reading to our daughter’s class at school. Whatever the activity, embrace your “short-term” setback and get going in a positive direction!
- Reflection- This can be a great time to reflect on your current life and where you see yourself headed in the future. Most of us don’t ever have enough alone time to truly look back at what we have accomplished, what we are currently doing, as well as what we want to achieve in the years ahead. I have found in the past this can be a great time to re-evaluate your life and what you want. Life goes by really FAST so instead of sitting around feeling sorry for yourself, start making a list of things you want to accomplish in the years ahead!
- Humble Pie- Most of us at some point in our lives will have a slice of this dessert. It is very easy to forget the tough times when life is good, but I find it is extremely important to hold onto this slice when you need it. You will be humbled at some point in your life and it will help you appreciate the times when you were healthy and just how much worse your situation can be. Hopefully you can use this opportunity to learn to not sweat the small stuff when life is going your way and to take advantage of new opportunities and life life to the fullest.