I’ve never met anyone who enjoys being physically injured, and the insult of having your body kick you to the bench seems even more painful (at least mentally) to athletes. So, in no way am I endorsing injuries as a way to be a better athlete – for heaven’s sake, take care of yourself! But, if a physical issue, (biomechanical, accident or otherwise) does come your way, I’m here to tell you that you can use the setback to your advantage.
I’ve sustained my fair share of injuries over the years through running, CrossFit, gymnastics, yoga, working out and enjoying an overall active lifestyle – everything from concussion, stress fractures and bone contusions to cuts that required stiches, oozing road burn, ripped palms, a multitude of pulled muscles, sprained ankles, wrists and ribs and more. Thankfully, nothing of a very serious nature and that a little Advil® PM couldn’t help me though!
However, I believe the time spent sitting on the proverbial sidelines can help an athlete heal both physically and mentally, especially if the right mindset is kept. Think of your injury as a way to embrace these four factors that will ultimately help you mend on the inside and out – remember that tough times don’t last, but tough people do!
4 Ways Sports Injuries Build Better Athletes
Confronts Problem: Some injuries are complete and total fluke accidents. However, the majority of problems caused by exercise are driven by careless, reckless or single-minded behavior – even ignorance and denial are reasons people hurt themselves in sports over and over. Admit it, you know a guy who jacks his back in the gym every month. Whether you are piling on miles with terrible running form, are an adrenaline junkie who puts thrill before skill, or just unlucky enough to be at the wrong place at the wrong time, getting injured forces you to look at the issue rationally and figure out ways to rehabilitate and keep it from happening again. Or, so I hope!
Forces Rest: As much as a go-go-go, type-A personality athlete might feel like he or she is withering away physically and emotionally when slowed down by injury, the forced rest is actually quite beneficial – muscles actually get stronger during the recovery phase of a workout, not during the actual effort! There is some time that you don’t have to use it, before you lose it. Take this as a not-so-subtle hint to sleep in, move slower and focus on nutrition. It will take at least a couple weeks for strength athletes to notice any signs of muscle atrophy and, in the same vein, endurance athletes shouldn’t expect to lose any significant VO2 max during the same period of break. However, if an injury is more serious, you will want to work with your doctor of physical therapist to develop an alternative training plan that will keep you at an agreeable baseline of fitness – so that when you’re able to jump back in, you’re not starting from square one.
Expands Horizons: When life hands you lemons, you make lemonade! Finding an alternative form of exercise to keep fit through an injury may just introduce you to the newest passion in your life – an experience never fully realized had it not been for the initially unwelcomed introduction. For example, runners may find they love swimming, weight-lifters may find they love sculling, tennis players may take to yoga and, heck, who doesn’t want an excuse to play golf all day long?! Even if you can’t wait to get back to your first true love, the change of pace will do your mind and body good!
Tests and Strengthens Resolve: A sports injury can really put a person’s resolve to the test, especially when it comes to staying on course. This ability to stay focused, determined and put a plan into action is a testament to the strength or weakness of your resolve – or, another way to say it, it’s the “steering mechanism” that drives you to a desired outcome. Will you crash and burn, stall out and give up, or keep after it until you reach the finish line? Playing the victim (or poor me), blaming, making excuses and complaining when it comes to dealing with an injury just weakens your resolve and lessens the likelihood of you ever achieving the athletic goals you first imagined. Once you are healed, being fearful and dwelling in the past will likely also keep you from that personal victory. Just keep looking forward, staying positive and celebrating your milestone achievements on the road to health and recovery.
Whether you are an everyday athlete or an elite superstar, managing the pain and the restlessness that often comes with being sidelined due to injury can be lessened with Advil® PM. I’ve used this safe and effective over-the-counter pain reliever and non-habit forming sleep aid with great results to treat the aches, pains and minor injuries I’ve dealt with running and working out over the last 25 years. It’s always so hard to sleep when your muscles are trashed from a marathon, or that headache from a day in the sun won’t go away —Advil® PM to the nighttime rescue!
Of course, before taking Advil® PM, you’ll want to consult with your physician to make sure this product is right for you. You can visit AdvilPM.com for more information and a coupon!
Have you had a sports-related injury? What happened and how did you get through it? Please share in the comments below. XOXO – Jennifer