Now that we have made it through another Holiday Season it is time to look forward toward 2020 and think about what are our health and fitness goals. For some this could be simply starting down the journey of realizing better health and fitness while for others they may have more performance related goals. Whatever your health and fitness goals are for 2020 a common theme that can derail our goals is injury. All too often when someone gets injured they feel as though this requires complete rest and they stop their fitness routines altogether. This does not have to be the case.
In fact, there are numerous benefits to continuing to work on a general fitness routine as we are injured. Such as the fact that the increase in heart rate will promote good circulation which will help to promote tissue healing and help to control inflammation. Also from a pain perspective, all the research around pain science tells us that movement can be just as effective if not more effective at reducing symptoms as compared to taking medication or using other modalities such as heat or ice. So by continuing some form of training you are likely to improve your healing time.
As for the person who is using their training for performance reasons whether that is for sport or in the gym, there is almost always a way to scale or modify movements to allow us to avoid aggravating the injured tissue. This will allow for you to continue to work toward your goals of increased performance, while allowing for appropriate healing. It happens all too often that an athlete will get injured and will be told that they must completely rest for 4-6 weeks meaning no weights and no sport activity. While 4-6 weeks may not be the end of the world but depending on when that 4-6 weeks occurs during your training cycle or competition schedule that can cause major effects on performance. Instead of resting we can use this time to work on other weaknesses that you may have or at the very least be training the opposite side which will help to minimize loss in strength and/or performance in the injured side.
A personal example is that I have recently been dealing with a pain in my right hip that can be aggravated by squatting based movements. However, I have scaled and modified workouts to continue to allow me to train the muscles used in the squat so that I do not lose improvements in strength and mobility. As an example, my pain is made worse when back squatting as it puts my hip in an angle of flexion that causes more approximation/compression of the joint. So I utilized more lunge patterns and deadlifts initially. Then I progressed back into squat variations performing things like spanish squats and moving into more goblet squats and/or front squats, all of which allow for a more upright position of the torso which is decreasing load to the hip. So in this way I have been able to use a combination of movements to be able to continue training the different muscles of the legs that are usually trained by utilizing the squat, all while no impeding the healing of my hip pain/injury.
So as you can see our training or our focus on our health does not have to stop due to an injury or pain. There are plenty of safe ways to continue training that will allow you to continue to improve performance and will likely having benefits of promoting healing as well. Hopefully this can help prevent someone from allowing an injury of getting in the way of their health and fitness goals in 2020. Keep training and do not let injury prevent you from becoming a Prime Mover!