There are a lot of recognised benefits to sports and fitness training. Playing sports is one effective way to exercise: strengthening and toning your muscles, developing endurance, improving heart health, boosting energy levels, and facilitating you to socialise and have fun with others. However, like all things, as well as the positives, there are also the negatives (e.g. risk of injury). There could be instances when you will experience injuries caused by tripping, falling, slipping, and so on, whilst partaking in sports or fitness training.
Hurting yourself through playing sports or exercising is, unfortunately, a common scenario that many people have experienced. Depending on the scale or level of injury, it takes time and requires treatment to heal successfully. However, your recover can be enhanced with the aid of best recovery practices.
Below are four quick tips to aid in your recovery journey.
1. Visit a Sports Physician
One of the most common ways to deal with bruises and minor sprains is to self-medicate. There are over-the-counter drugs like antiseptic creams or lotions that you can use to treat wounds, for example. However, when your injury – incurred from playing sports or fitness training – is more serious, it is advisable to visit a sports physician rather than self-medicate. Nothing beats the peace you will feel when you ask for guidance from an appropriately qualified medical professional.
X-rays or scans and a thorough clinical examination will aid in confirming a diagnosis and help focus the rehabilitation strategy to allow for a faster, and hopefully better, recovery. A sports physician has sufficient training and experience to expedite your treatment. For instance, they can recommend you visit PRP Care providers if you need any therapy or rehabilitation process.
Physicians who specialise in sports medicine do not only treat professional athletes but also teenagers and adults who regularly take part in physical activity/exercise, as well as those whose jobs are physically demanding. A sports physician will be able to recommend and offer both comprehensive non-surgical and surgical treatment options tailored to your needs so that you can get back to everyday life faster.
2. Follow a Nutritious Diet
Consuming the right food and supplements can speed injury recovery. It is undoubtedly true that food can act as a sort of medicine to help recover from injuries, as inflammation can be decreased by good nutrition and tissue-building cells receive vital nutrients.
- Vitamins A, B, C, and D as well as calcium, copper, iron, magnesium, manganese, and zinc are all important for injury recovery.
- Interestingly, vitamin E may slow healing so avoid vitamin E supplements during injury.
- Choose vegetables and fruits rich in vitamin C, such as broccoli or strawberries, as it can help your body produce the collagen that is required to rebuild tissue after an injury.
- For adequate zinc, choose fortified grains and protein foods, such as beef, chicken, seafood or beans.
- Also, include dairy in your diet as it is rich in calcium to strengthen your bones and get you back to your physical activities/exercises faster.
- Some wounds/injuries may require a higher intake of certain vitamins and minerals to support healing.
With the above in mind, it is an important tip to maintain a nutritious diet while you recover from an injury – and it also enhances your overall well-being.
3. Apply RICE Method
The ‘RICE’ method is a popular treatment method for sports/exercise injuries, and consists of:
- Rest the injury.
- Ice the injury to lessen swelling, bleeding, and inflammation.
- Apply a compression bandage to minimise swelling.
- Elevate the injury, if possible, to reduce swelling.
You will be on your way to recovery faster and more effectively by following these four steps. You can often get back into the game with this treatment for minor injuries and muscle strains, and some sports physicians recommend this therapy for patients who have ‘light’ injuries.
Getting enough rest is crucial for a full recovery from sports injuries. Healing and rebuilding muscles take time. Hence, you need plenty of rest for your muscles/tissues to build up again. Rest is crucial even for those who do not experience injuries. Muscles need time to rest and recover after they have been used during fitness training.
Another method in this therapy is using a cold compress on the affected area. Immediately following an injury, ice can help reduce inflammation by lowering the temperature.
4. Gradually Get Into Exercising
Light exercise can be performed during the recovery process, but it depends on the injury and what your sports physician/therapists recommends.
Things to consider include:
- Getting your sports physician’s/therapist’s approval to start exercising again.
- Mentally prepare yourself: Why did you get injured? What can you do differently?
- Start slow: A good guideline is to start at about 50% of your ‘normal’ level, and increase only 10% to 15% each week – assuming your symptoms do not flare-up during or after each session.
- Cross training: Performing a variety of activities that work different parts of your body is important. You stay fit while the injured part regains strength and it also helps you avoid getting injured again.
- Listen to your body: A little discomfort is probably ok, but a lot is not. You may feel slight pain, but you should not be in agony.
Athletes, whether amateurs or professionals, get injured occasionally. Applying the above tips will aid in treating and recovering from your injury. Consider seeking professional help, incorporating nutritious foods into your diet, applying the RICE method, and gradually perform light exercises. Following these steps will help you get back into the game in time.