Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Training with Injuries: The Psyschological Reasons

Written by Mark Riebel

Not only do you have to face the pain that your injury physically causes you, but what can be more damaging for some are the mental challenges you’ll have to face. For one, there are the setbacks you face from just not being able to do what you used to do. It is easy to feel down when you watch everyone doing what you were once so easily able to do and you’re forced to do something else. It may make you feel a little like the kid who didn’t get picked for kickball and get you to dwell on all of the things you are now unable to perform because of your pain. But you’ve got to refocus and stop thinking about what you can’t do and instead look at what you can do. It’s not the easiest task, I know, but that’s what you’ll be better off doing. You busted up your right arm? Grab a dumbbell and do your WOD with the left. Can’t squat? I’ve been doing lunges, split squats and step-ups for the last four weeks or so. Sure, I really would rather be doing squats, but since I can’t, the modifications that I’ve done instead have allowed me to continue training my legs with the added benefit of ironing out any strength imbalances I have by training unilaterally.

Exercise will also help your mental outlook by causing a release of endorphins (your own natural pain killers) and put a big upswing on your general attitude. Any time over the past several months when I’ve been in a lot of pain, I knew that doing a WOD would make me feel remarkably better, and it always did. The increased blood flow to my tissues, mobility work, and overall pleasant feeling I would get from the workout (when it was over, of course!) did wonders for me. Yes, my workouts may have been more monotonous than if I were pain free, but doing what I could allowed me to maintain a decent level of fitness while still making improvements in the movements that I could do. This attitude will also help you because it is your refusal to be stopped by an injury. It may take a week, it may take a year or more, but if you never give up, you will heal.

To sum up, don’t let your bumps and bruises stop you. Find a way to work around and with them so you can get back on the CrossFit horse sooner rather than later.

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