Picture yourself working hard for months to get your body in shape until one day you suddenly felt a sharp pain in your knee that was so bad you had to give up the rest of the routine.
Because of your dedication to achieve your dream physique, you sometimes tend to push your body way too hard. Disregarding your body’s needs could lead to soft tissue and muscle injuries.
How Injuries Happen
During training or workout, your body’s soft tissues are put under a series of mechanical stress. Your body will try to adapt to the demand, the tissue will heal, and your muscles will grow, making you capable of undergoing training in increasing difficulty over time.
However, overusing your muscles and soft tissues during repetitive training could lead to wearing and tearing. This happens when you don’t allow your tissue adequate time to heal. This will not only hurt your body physically. It could also bring you several steps back in your fitness journey.
Tips to Speedy Recovery
Luckily, there are ways to maximize and speed up your recovery from these injuries. Adhering to these tips could help you recover and get back on track.
Tip 1 – Rest and immobilize
According to Muscles, Ligaments and Tendons Journal, it is important to immobilize and rest your injured body part for at least 4-6 days following an injury. This is to make sure that the healing tissue will not be injured by subjecting them to the same stress.
It is not recommended however, to prolong this period of immobility for more than a week. Long periods of muscle inactivity could lead to muscular atrophy, which is the shrinking of your muscles. This leads you to the next tip.
Tip 2 – Move and recover
After this brief period of rest, gradual introduction of movement and isometric exercises to the injured area was proven to improve the muscle regeneration stage. This is because movement stimulates blood flow to your injury, building up the nutrients needed in speeding up the healing process.
Take note that this process should not be done abruptly because it could worsen your injury. For example, using knee sleeves for basketball could help you continue your training while at the same time ensuring that your knees are supported and not carrying your upper body weight all by itself.
Tip 3 – Hydrate and replenish
Your muscles are composed of 73% water. That’s why adequate hydration of your muscle cells, just like any other body cells, must be maintained. During training and workout, sweating and increased body metabolic rate can lead to dehydration. When your soft tissues are dehydrated, they are more prone to tearing and injuries.
Similarly, for your tissues and muscles to heal, adequate hydration is needed. Listen to your body because it generally gives you the hint. Don’t ignore your thirst.
Tip 4 – Recharge and refuel
Just because you are injured doesn’t mean that you can’t do anything beneficial to your fitness journey. Remember that fitness doesn’t only involve exercise. Nutrition is also very important in achieving your goal.
Since protein is primarily responsible for the building and repairing of body tissues, a high-protein diet is essential in speeding up muscle repair. Carbohydrates are your main source of energy and should be included in your diet as well.
Tip 5 – Sleep and restore
Sleeping is an opportunity for your body to recover from the activities you did during the day. During sleep, your muscles are relaxed and blood supply to them increases, promoting tissue repair and growth.
Also, growth hormones are released in great amounts during sleep. It is known that this hormone is important for growth and development and this includes muscle development. Energy is restored when you are sleeping so an adequate amount of sleep could get you ready to tackle another day in your road to recovery.
Have you suffered a fitness-related injury before? What did you do to recover? Share your experience in the comments section below.
Laker, S. R., MD. (2017, July 31). Overuse Injury. Retrieved October 21, 2017, from https://emedicine.medscape.com/article/313121-overview
Tidball, J. G. (2011, October). Mechanisms of muscle injury, repair, and regeneration. Retrieved October 21, 2017, from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23733696
Järvinen, T. A., Järvinen, M., & Kalimo, H. (2014, February 24). Regeneration of injured skeletal muscle after the injury. Retrieved October 21, 2017, from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3940509/
Dattilo, M., et. al. (2011, May 7). Sleep and muscle recovery: endocrinological and molecular basis for a new and promising hypothesis. Retrieved October 21, 2017, from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21550729