Featured”suck it up.”
– WHAT I AM DOING DIFFERENTLY –
INJURY’S ARE A PAIN IN THE BUTT… AND IN MY CASE, LITERALLY.
They get in the way of EVERYTHING don’t they? not just training but in everyday life too, it’s so annoying. Only last week I struggled sightseeing in London for less than a few hours before having to take refuge in Costa because my stupid leg gave way. It is physically and mentally frustrating. Imagine me sat there, slapping at my leg screaming “WHY!? WHY!!!!!!?”… I must have looked like a new level of crazy.
It’s times like these when I have to count to ten (a practice my gran always preached) and remember that these things usually take a longer time to heal than we are willing to give them. Instead of asking my leg why, I asked my self instead. Why isn’t my injury getting better? And what can I do to speed the process up? I found an article on via breakingmuscle.co.uk and realized that everything I have been doing is in fact hindering my recovery.
To be truthfully honest, the last couple of months I’ve been in sloth mode. And by sloth mode I mean ‘sitting on my ass and feeling sorry for myself’ mode. The problem was, I had SO MANY different opinions and directions from teachers, friends, doctors and physio’s on what I SHOULD and shouldn’t have been doing. I was so overwhelmed, I just stopped doing everything, out of fear that it would make it worse. But these last couple of weeks have been an eye opener for me, and hopefully, things will continue to improve.
1.TRAIN – Yes rest is important, but becoming a couch potato isn’t going to help either. Just because you can’t train the way you used to, doesn’t mean you can’t train at all. It just means that you need to find new ways to go about it, and research different routines and exercises that will strengthen the necessary body parts to help the injury recover. When done properly, a specific exercise regime tailored towards an injury can speed up the healing process.
This week I made it a priority to set my alarm for 6:30 and get my squats and stretching in. I knew that not doing this would probably increase my chances of my hamstring tightening and Piriformis spasming after a vigorous day of dance. A nice 20 minute yoga session as soon as I wake helps to release tension in the muscles and eradicate any toxins in the body. My dance training for the moment is restricted. No kicks, and no high intensity ballet (turning out at the hips triggers spasms and pain in the sciatic nerve) – but, in time, strength will increase if baby steps are taken.
2. EAT – I ate too little. I know this. The mistake I made was that I thought, just because I wasn’t exercising anymore… I didn’t need to eat as much. What I didn’t realise was during the acute phase of injury recovery, the body’s energy supply actually needs to increase. Food, creates energy, and your body uses up that energy to heal… hence why my injury is taking more than a while to repair…
Protein & Fats: foods high in anti-inflammatory omega 3’s, flax-seeds and peanut butter etc. I don’t get enough of these. I have been taking protein powders when my macro’s have been in-sufficiently low in protein for the day. My macro’s are based on one gram of protein per pound of body weight, which is sufficient for muscle recovery.
After just two weeks I feel so much better in myself and can already feel the positive changes. I have made sure that my body has been receiving all the right amounts of all the right foods!
3. SUPPLEMENT – Vitamins A, B, C and D, as well as calcium, coppers, iron, and zinc support tissue regeneration and repair, assist in collagen formation and strengthen connective tissue. Sounds good right? Why wouldn’t you supplement? Especially if you’re like me.
I am deficient in most of these Vitamins and minerals, and have been taking vitamin B12 and zinc for around a year now. Why am I deficient? Because I ate a lot of processed junk and did not have a balanced diet. Yes, I ate ‘healthy’ foods too like vegetables… But when that’s all you have thrown in to a bowl with a little bit of ketchup… Where’s the dairy? And all the other micro-nutrients? I was missing out.
Vitamins I am taking:
- B12 – Contributes to Normal Energy – Yeilding Metabolism and Reduction of Tiredness and Fatigue
- Magnesium & Zinc – Contributes to the Reduction of Tiredness and Fatigue and Normal Muscle Function
- Active Women – A Comprehensive Multi-Vitamin to Help with Function of the Immune System and Meet Unique Nutritional needs.
4. SLEEP – An obvious one right? Sleep is CRUCIAL when it comes to healing. It is the body’s best defense mechanism and regenerative process. During sleep, your body produces hormones essential for a strong immune system, increased muscle mass, bone strength, alongside restoring the body’s energy! Lack of sleep can lead to muscles soreness, injury and the lack of ability to restore, repair muscles and build strength. Another thing to mention is that during periods of sleep deprivation, the body loses the ability to metabolize glucose efficiently, and levels of Cortisol – the stress hormone – increases. This means that a person who is constantly having less than 6 hours of sleep per night, are at higher risk of suffering from memory impairment, insulin resistance and impaired recovery.
My housemates can back me up on this one. My sleeping pattern over the last few months has not been what you could call ‘normal’. Stresses in everyday life have had me struggling to get to sleep and stay asleep without wanting to wake up at 2AM and start working. I’ve had to stick a note on my desk in eyes view from my pillow with the words “GET MORE SLEEP”… It helps, sometimes. Since starting this 12 week journey I have downloaded ‘Sleep Cycle’ from the App store and have been keeping a close eye on my sleeping habits. It’s not great, but at least I am getting around 7 hours a night now. There’s still a long way to go.
5. TREATMENT – A professional needs to assess an injury before you start making any sort of attempt to recover. Sometimes, a pain in your leg could be due to problems in the spine, but because you have googled your symptoms you actually have no idea, so naturally increase the risk of injuring yourself further. The sooner a professional can address the situation, the quicker a training program can be implemented and treatment such as dry needling or sports massages can be integrated.
Stubborn. That’s what I was. I thought I could go it alone, without having to put the effort in to see a doctor and pay for treatment. Could I have been any more naive?! OK, so it cost me more than i am willing to admit (as a student with no money) but it has been SO worth it. I have had numerous dry needling sessions in my hamstring, lower back and Piriformis and although absolutely excruciating, it has honestly dramatically adhered to my overall improvement.
6. POSITIVITY – Mind set is everything. I bet you hear this one all the time and think “but how can I stay positive when I am in so much pain/ can’t perform!” and believe me you wouldn’t be the only one. Everyone with a injury goes through this phase, it’s getting out of that phase that is going to start you on that path to recovery. You have to want to get better, and be 10000% determined to make changes. You have to do whatever you are told and LISTEN. That means, EAT, SLEEP, TRAIN and receive TREATMENT. It sounds pretty straight forward, but it can be the only thing holding you back.
I wish I had done it sooner. Admitting to myself that I was in fact seriously injured for the first time in my life was the hardest. The thought of never being able to dance properly again paralysed me, and I was too depressed or upset to find the motivation and willingness to get better. It sounds pathetic, but it’s true.
In the long run, I think it has made me stronger. It has given me the determination to improve my way of living and also make healthy and appropriate life-style changes. All in all, It has given me a MASSIVE KICK UP THE BUM!
I adopted that thing I spoke about in my blog post: THE IMPORTANCE OF EDUCATION IN HEALTH AND WELL-BEING The WONDERWOMAN MENTALITY. Be your own Wonder woman. Be strong and look after yourself, because in an industry as brutal as the one I am in, feeling sorry for yourself will get you no where.