Starting a new workout routine can be exciting. Exercise makes you feel stronger, healthier, and more energized. Whether you prefer outdoor activities like walking or running, or you’ve got a home gym complete with cardio equipment, weights, and an exercise bench, committing to an exercise regime is definitely worth it.
However, one thing you’ll want to keep in mind as you start your journey is safety and moderation. If you haven’t exercised in a while or you began a new type of workout, your body becomes vulnerable to workout injuries which not only causes pain but can discourage and keep you from continuing with your new routine.
How To Recover from Workout Injuries
Some of the most common workout injuries are sprains, strains, shin splints, and tendonitis. If you find yourself faced with one of these, don’t ignore it. Putting pressures and strains on your injuries may lead to further damage. Naturally, if you have hurt yourself severely, you may need to seek the advice of a medical professional.
On the other hand, many minor workout injuries can be treated at home. In sports rehabilitation, the R-I-C-E protocol has been recommended to treat pain. Here are some tips to recover and help you get back to exercising quickly!
R: Rest the injury.
Give the affected area a break. If your shins are screaming after a few days of running, take some time off. This doesn’t mean you can’t exercise, but try to focus your routine on something that doesn’t put an impact on the affected area. Consider switching up your cardio by joining a spin class or doing a few laps in the pool instead.
If you’ve caused discomfort in your shoulder or elbow from lifting heavy weights, switch to a lower body workout like cycling or walking until you’re pain-free. If walking or weight-bearing causes pain in the affected area, taking complete rest until you’ve healed from your workout injury would be the best solution.
I: Ice the injury to lessen swelling and inflammation.
Ice is one of the most effective treatments for pain because it can prevent and minimize the inflammation commonly associated with workout injuries. Ice should be applied to your injury as soon as possible (never directly to the skin as this may cause frostbite to the tissue) for at least 15-20 minutes every couple of hours for the first day or two.
If you don’t have an ice pack, try using a bag of small frozen vegetables such as green peas wrapped in a towel. The small size of the vegetables helps them conform to the injured area and they don’t melt so easily like ice. Keep in mind if you use a bag of vegetables that you can refreeze them for use as an ice pack, but don’t refreeze and then eat them.
C: Apply a Compression bandage to minimize swelling.
Adding a compression bandage will often make the affected area feel better because it helps reduce swelling. You can find elastic bandages at your local pharmacy or grocery store. You’ll want to apply the bandage snugly to the injured area but make sure you don’t wrap it too tightly.
Periodically check the area after applying the bandage to ensure it doesn’t become cold, numb, or tingly as these are all signs that blood isn’t flowing properly to the injured area and that you should loosen the bandage immediately!
E: Elevate the injury, if possible, to reduce swelling.
This can be one of the toughest tips for those who love to stay active, but it’s a crucial part of the healing process. Elevating your workout injury above the level of your heart not only helps to reduce the swelling, but it also decreases the throbbing and pain. If possible, use pillows, blankets, or cushions to elevate your injured area while resting, working, or sleeping.
How To Workout Safely
Injuries, especially workout injuries, don’t have to be part of getting in shape. Listen to your body and don’t push through something that hurts. Be sure you have the proper equipment for your chosen activity and that you maintain good form while working out.
When you get tired, you’re more likely to use a poor form which can lead to a workout injury. Also, remember to increase your activity or dumbbell weights in strength training gradually. Gently increasing the intensity can help you to get stronger and faster while remaining injury-free.