Monday, May 12, 2014

WORKING OUT WITH AN INJURY

WHEN A MUSCLE SNAPS
A little over a year ago, I started an early-morning workout without completing a proper warm-up.  I was doing fine until I attempted a move that put too much stress on my traps and rhomboids (the muscles associated with the neck and back) and SNAP!  I pulled a muscle and everything became very tight.  I massaged the burning muscles and decided to cut my workout short.  The next morning, I could barely turn my head.  Through intense therapy with a chiropractor, it took about 6 weeks before I could get back to my usual weight-lifting routine.  But while I was healing, I didn't take 6 weeks off from all types of exercise because even though my neck hurt, my legs were working just fine!  So, while I worked on range-of-motion exercises for the upper body, I worked on plyometrics and weight lifting for the lower body.  It was a long 6 weeks but those modifications were needed in order to heal.

WHAT'S THE POINT OF THIS STORY?
I share this story to exemplify the fact that I didn't use an injury as an excuse to stop exercising (mainly because I knew what would happen if I took a break).  Okay, before you flood my in-box with statements of outrage over me advocating exercise with an injury, just hear me out.  Over the years, I've had my fair share of injuries.  Whether it's not properly preparing my muscles in a warm-up or whether it's attributed to my scoliosis-induced muscle imbalances, I've always tried my best to listen to my body and to take it easy when injury warrants a time-out.  But, just because one part of your body is injured, that doesn't mean that your entire body needs a break.  Apparently, I'm not the only one who feels this way.

A WOMAN AT THE GYM
Last summer, when I still belonged to a gym, I was jogging along on a treadmill when I noticed a woman walk in with a cast on her leg.  It was a walking-cast so she wasn't using any crutches.  She had a gym bag thrown over her shoulder and I watched her walk (cast n' all) over to a stationary bike and place her gym bag on the floor.  Then she took a seat.  Behind the bike.  On the floor.  With her legs straddling the bike and her hands on the pedals, she started cranking.  I watched her in awe.  She obviously couldn't ride the bike from the seat because of her leg cast but that didn't stop her from getting in her cardio.  She sat there, cranking her heart out, for about 20 minutes.  When she was done, I made a point to approach her and comment on her dedication.  She told me that she had twisted her ankle but couldn't imagine not completing her daily visit to the gym.  She knew that if she took too much time off, it would become more difficult to get back into the workout routine.

IT'S HARD TO 'GET BACK INTO IT'
What this woman said is so true...if you take a certain amount of time off from your exercise routine, it becomes increasingly difficult to get back into it.  I remember travelling to Hawaii many years ago.  I worked out religiously to get my body bikini-ready for that trip and when we arrived, I think I hit the gym on the first day...and never returned.  I mean, I was vacation, right?  It was time to relax...there'd be plenty of time for working out when we returned home, right?  Ha!  If my memory serves me correctly, I didn't set foot inside a gym for another 3 months after that vacation.  I had such a hard time motivating myself to 'get back into it'.  That happened many years ago and ever since then (especially over the past 4 years), I have never taken a break from my workout routine, not while on vacation, not when we have house-guests, and not when I have a minor injury.  If I need a break, I take it easy and complete a light workout but I never stop completely.  Same goes for minor injuries that don't affect my entire body.  I think that mentality helped me get through my neck injury last year.  I kept moving and there was very little disruption to my routine.  This, my friends, made it much easier to 'get back into it'!

1 comment:

  1. Kudos for showing real spirit and extraordinary will! Doing those is a struggle for a lot of people already. The fact that you have exuded your capability to do it, along with having proven it is enough of an incentive for folks who want or aim to transcend their limits and stuff, is really admirable. However, it sometimes pays to come to terms with those disabilities and to deal with them in their own terms at a separate time, to complete the process of healing and make it more comprehensive and across-the-board. Take care!

    Javier Carol @ U.S. HealthWorks

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