Injuries are common among athletes. If you are working out, guess what! You are an athlete. You don’t need the title professional athlete to be considered an athlete. Additionally, while professional athletes tend to have common injuries as a result of their sport you too can sustain injuries as part of your sport.
Injuries are not the only reason you may be incapacitated, an illness or need for surgery could also put you into a season of convalescence.
I am no exception. In June of 2022, my entire family caught Covid. As we all know through the pandemic and after that Covid can cause some long haul symptoms. I thought I weathered the illness well, but it was clear after about a month that I had not. Over the last 9 months, I’ve experienced swelling, abdominal pain, a frozen shoulder, biceps tendonitis, and just some lymph stagnation!
That can be very frustrating. I went from being someone who could be in the gym for an hour or more with ease to someone who struggled to lift even the smallest of weights. You may be wondering what you can do to recover if you are facing an illness, injury, or other issue that limits your ability to be in the gym.
I have a few tips that helped me with my recovery, and I am going to share them with you.
This may seem counterintuitive, after all, injuries may limit your motion and ability to move. However, movement is important. We do not need to keep moving the way we moved before, but we need to move. If you have an injury that prevents you from walking, consider riding a bike or looking for a pool where you can avoid active pressure on your injury. If you are recovering from an illness or perhaps surgery, simply walking can be sufficient. Do not become a chair potato! It’s easy to think that movement is going to be counterproductive. We know that movement improves recovery. It’s also good for your mental health to keep moving.
Consider alternative therapies
If you are experiencing swelling consider alternative therapies such as infrared sauna. I personally found that the sauna helps with swelling and improved my energy levels dramatically. The anti-inflammatory nature of the sauna can be beneficial and promote circulation.
Simplify your nutrition
When it comes to nutrition this must be a factor in recovery! It’s easy to move from a healthy balanced diet to a diet rich in high energy low nutrition foods. Prepackaged foods are beneficial for someone struggling to be on their feet in the kitchen prepping. A few tips to help with this is to find a stool to sit on in the kitchen to prep seated. Consider simple meals for a while. Things such as salads, quinoa bowls, and other meals like stir-fry where you can make a meal rich in veggies, flavor, and more than enough for several meals. If you do need to eat prepackaged foods, consider what options you have and make sure you don’t eat an excess of energy for the day.
You gotta eat!
YOU NEED FOOD! I am saying this twice. It takes energy to recover. You need to make sure you are consuming adequate calories for your recovery. This should be at your maintenance calories or close to it. You should not be trying to lose body fat while you recover. Body fat loss can occur post-injury/surgery if you are making nutrient-dense food choices.
Listen to your body
If you have surgery and are struggling to eat post-surgery consider just listening to what your body is asking for. It could be something like a lot of fruit or high-protein options. This should pass after a few days as your body regulates and you begin to feel like yourself again, or you feel even better than before.
Finally, the best tip I have is to start slow. Don’t wait until you are “recovered” to start. Just move the best you can. Even if that’s committing to just a few stretches daily, do something!