Keeping Fit When You’re Ill Or Injured*



*This is a collaborative post*

It can be hard to find the motivation to get up and exercise when you have been injured or you face an illness, but you don’t want to let your body become weak and gain weight in the time that you are incapacitated. It is important to try and stay moving, eat healthily and practice as much of that healthy lifestyle as you possibly can because it may help you to recover.

1. Accept That You Are Ill
If you are well into your fitness journey and are finally starting to see big results, the last thing you want is to suddenly be taken ill or have to slow down due to an injury. The thought of skipping a workout might make you agitated and annoyed- but remember that your body needs the time to recover and heal. If your injury or illness is pretty serious, it might mean skipping the gym entirely for a few weeks until you are well enough.
Always listen to your doctor and take their advice, and listen to your body too. If you want to try and do some physical activity and anything starts hurting, stop immediately and rest. It might take baby steps to get back into the swing of things, but it will all be worth it in the end once you are feeling better.
2. Should You Exercise Or Not?
If you’ve had an accident at home and fallen down the stairs, breaking a few ribs along the way, you’ll be making personal injury claims as well as visiting your doctor. If you have any concerns about your training regime, ask your doctor and discuss ways that you could be up and moving during your recovery. Depending on the injury, you may be able to do some forms of physical therapy at home and strengthen your weak spots while you recover. However, this will not always be the case, and you may have to stay resting completely for a certain length of time.
During this time, still eat as healthily as you can and get plenty of protein, healthy fats and greens into your body to aid its recovery. You may find that doing nothing and just eating well will be much better for you than trying to move around and straining yourself further.
3. Try Alternative Exercises
Just because you’ve sprained your ankle and you can’t go for the same 3 mile run you normally do each morning doesn’t mean you can’t do other things in its place. Take yourself out of your normal routine and use this opportunity to find other ways of keeping yourself fit. It could be that swimming is ideal for you because you aren’t putting any weight on your muscles or joints, or maybe you want to try aerial yoga rather than traditional yoga because you can’t plant your foot flat on the floor. Just because you are injured doesn’t mean everything grinds to a halt. Find the root cause of your illness, work your way around it and discover new hobbies.
4. Get Help From Somebody
If you are unsure what kind of things you will be able to do now that you are incapacitated, find someone who will be able to advise you and teach you moves to work during your recovery. If you are already a member of a gym, book a session with one of the personal trainers and talk to them about your injury and what you would like to work on while you are out of action. They will be able to tailor a workout for you which doesn’t involve moving that part of your body.
5. Strengthen The Weak Parts Of Your Body
If you mostly stick to the upper body when you work out, and you’ve injured your shoulder from lifting too much weight, you may want to take the opportunity to work on your lower body instead. Now that you can’t work on the part of the body you usually do, you can instead make time to strengthen the weaker parts of your body. It will result in you having a much more balanced body overall and you’ll tone up places that you never bothered with before.
6. Diet Is Key
As we touched on slightly before, a huge part of helping your body recover quickly and allow you to return to your normal routine is your diet. Even though you might be feeling a little sorry for yourself and like you just want to snack on chocolate and crisps, you need to try and stay strong and fuel your body with whole foods to help you recover. Start the morning with plenty of protein and slow release carbs such as poached egg on toast, and make your lunches into colourful salads. For the evening try and beef yourself up with a healthy dose of proteins, lots of healthy fats and carbs, and as many leafy greens as you like. The vitamins and minerals you put into your body will get to work and heal you in no time.
7. Family and Friends
While you are missing those evening stints at the gym, you can make up for the time you lose by doing this and be with the people you love. It might be that you normally spend 3 nights a week in the gym, which means 3 nights a week away from your family and friends. But now that you are recovering, you can take the time to be sociable and catch up with your friends and family. It will pass the time while you are recovering and will also make you feel less stressed out and happier in the long run.
8. Get Some Sleep!
Most people don’t get enough sleep each night, it’s a sad fact of life. Lack of sleep can make us feel groggy, grumpy, and slow down our reactions. Now that you are in recovery mode, take the opportunity to catch up on as much sleep as you can to get you feeling re energised and invigorated, during your sleep your body will have ample time to heal and you’ll be back up and at it in no time!


*Contributed by Sam Jones

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