Being injured is frustrating and can make it feel like the world doesn’t want you to get stronger. The recovery process is a great time to work on your weaknesses, which will help you stay active and enhance the recovery process.
There is inherent risk of injury in all activities. If you perform an activity enough, there is a possibility of creating an injury from said activity. Obviously some activities have a much higher risk than others. Some activities put you at risk for an injury that could be considered catastrophic while the opposite of that spectrum are injuries that are more minor.
It is important to weigh the factors involved in the activities that you love. Do you realize that this could potentially cause an injury? Is the cost of the injury a price you are willing and able to pay? This is not just the financial coast, though that is important to consider, but the other cost factors such as time spent on treatment, not being able to do other activities, or anything else in your life that might be affected by being injured.
Do not train through pain! I saw this all the time with college athletes I worked with, and have seen it more than I thought I would in the general fitness population as well. ‘No pain, no gain!’ is a popular sentiment for people, as they believe that working hard requires pushing into pain in order to make progress.
Pain is much different than the discomfort of working out hard. Working through pain will guarantee that your injury gets worse. Pain is your bodies signal to you that something is wrong, and no amount of effort, regardless of how valiant you feel you are being, will change this. If you can detect this early on, and avoid things that cause pain, it can be a great opportunity to address a compensation or weakness somewhere in your body. Consult a practitioner who is familiar with your injury and training.
There is ALWAYS something you can do to move forward in your strength or fitness goals. Injuries are very frustrating. It seems that the time you just start making progress, you get hurt. You go from an awesome training schedule to nothing at all. That doesn’t have to be the case, but you do need to do the right things.
You can’t expect to do the same activities you did when you weren’t injured as when you are injured. Be ok with changing things up. If you hurt your lower body, you may have to focus more on your upper body and vice versa. The key is to never train through pain. If there is pain in any way during exercise, you are making the injury worse. Don’t let injury completely halt your activities. Modify or change your exercise routines to stay active and avoid pain.
Working hard is not a ‘comfortable’ experience. It is doesn’t feel good to have your heart rate beating at 90% or more of it’s maximum, or to be grinding through a lift while your muscles are burning and telling you to stop. This is different than pain. It takes getting used to working out to understand that this is ok. While it is ok, and necessary at times to make progress, you should not feel this way every time you train. Your body needs easy days as well as hard days to make progress. Work out intensely, but DON’T train through pain!