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Training through injuries: the do's and don'ts

A recent article in Breaking Muscle caught our eye, and we wanted to share the highlights with you.

In the article, strength and conditioning coach Becca Borawski Jenkins notes how her clients often ask how they can solve the dilemma of balancing the need for injuries to heal with the desire to workout. Here are some of her recommendations: 

Specific analysis: Ask yourself what you were doing when you got injured and which movements cause the pain to reoccur. From here, you can decide whether to exercise at all and, if you decide to workout, what kind of exercises you should do.

Get real: If your shoulder hurts so bad you cannot lift it, and you just hurt it yesterday, go home, rest and perhaps see a doctor. Most of us are not professional athletes, and tomorrow is not the Olympics. When you are injured, your priority is dealing with your injury, or at the very least, not worsening it.

Focus on recovery: Recovery does not mean sitting still. Use a foam roller or tennis ball to work out muscle spasms or adhesions. Ice your problem areas for 10 minutes at the top of every hour. Visit your chiropractor, massage therapist or yoga instructor. It also could mean that it's time to visit your doctor and having a diagnostic test. It does mean, without a doubt, listening to your body and being nice to it.

Be reasonable: If you choose to stay at the gym and work around your injury, then really work around it and make sure your coach, personal trainer or group-fitness instructor is aware of the situation. Do not do things that only hurt a little. If it hurts, stop doing it. If you are hurting, you are not healing. 

Don't create other injuries: If you have an injury requiring a long healing period, such as a shoulder injury, be careful that you do not cause other injuries or imbalances in your body. If your left shoulder hurts, and you spend three months only working your right arm and right shoulder, you are setting yourself up for future problems. You are better of focusing on lower body and core exercises. 

There is no quick fix: We are often in a hurry to get to the next step, and injury recovery is no different. Beware of quick fixes, such as painkillers. If you want to take something, double or triple your fish oil and deal with the inflammation of your injury. Pain is not a voice we should carelessly stifle.

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