How to Work Out if You are Injured
Updated Wrist Info at Bottom!
See that big lump on the thumb side of my wrist? That’s not a bone; it’s some sort of — hmmm, I don’t know what it is except that it’s not supposed to be there, and it feels squishy. Somehow I injured myself the other day while playing with the kids. The consequence is that I’m not going to do a workout today that involves any sort of push-ups or floor work. This is a great time to talk about how to stay fit in the event of injury. You have three options depending on the severity of the injury. The first is to do your regular workout but at a reduced intensity. That way you can monitor the injury. You could also alter your exercise to avoid the injury thereby allowing you to do a full intensity workout. Lastly, and sometimes the best option, is to do nothing and let yourself heal. Which is best? You choose.
Doing Nothing is Sometimes the Best Medicine:
When you wake up in the morning to do a workout and you find yourself dragging because of fatigue, it’s probably a better idea to crawl back into bed to finish sleeping. A workout will only wake you up temporarily, but later in the day you’ll just feel like crud again. Working out while tired is never a good plan. An interesting fact about sleep: Sleep and diet are better ways to lose weight than exercise. Lack of quality sleep creates a snowball effect with your health. People who don’t sleep have dull senses and don’t naturally burn as many calories while awake. The mind tries to conserve energy throughout the day when it’s tired by slowing reaction time and movements. The body and mind essentially try to get back into a sleep state even though you still want them to perform. The result is that you won’t naturally burn as many calories throughout the day as you would if you had gotten enough sleep. Secondly, a workout requires fresh muscles and an alert mind. A fatigued body gets injured more easily. To avoid it you have to slow down. If you don’t, you’ll injure yourself and end up having to take time off anyway. Get sleep and do it right or don’t do it at all.
When You’re Injured and Still Want to Work Out:
You sound like me. You could try to muscle through it, but that would be stupid. What I usually do is simply try to avoid the injured portion of my body. Today my wrist is injured. Maybe in that case I’ll go for a long walk or a jog, do some crunches and then relax. Walking at a pleasurable pace can burn 300 calories per hour, maybe more depending on intensity. Add a few crunches and abs stuff at the end and you’ve done a pretty good workout. Not only that but you’ve gotten outside, smelled some flowers and had some time for yourself to think. It’s just what your (my) body needs. Keep in mind that general fitness does not require always doing intense workouts; walking is not only something to do while injured, it’s a good workout anytime.
Parenting Creates Injury:
Tell me about it. I’m the sort of parent who does the monkey bars and all the slides with the kids. I play tackle football (tackle Frisbee, tackle darts, tackle Nintendo, tackle cooking) with the kids. Injury is inevitable. The best way to prepare yourself for it or to try to mitigate the damage when it does come is to do yoga. To keep up with kids and remain as injury free as possible it is imperative that you begin doing yoga or Pilates. A strong core and flexible joints go a long way towards keeping your body in alignment when the kids are busy knocking it out of whack for you. The best thing about Yoga (or Pilates), or at least one great thing about it, is that it doesn’t require any equipment other than a 15 dollar mat and a DVD. Being an injured parent is no fun for you and it’s no fun for the kids who won’t have anybody to kick around until you get better. Do some yoga and get back in the game!
The Wednesday Workout:
Let’s keep it simple. Go for a walk. Do what you can do and walk at a leisurely pace, but try to stay out for at least an hour. Along the way stop and do some light stretching on a park bench (no bouncing while stretching, folks). Start at your head and work your way down your body. Neck rolls, shoulder circles, hip circle and bends. Hamstring stretch, quad stretch, calf stretch and perhaps a few ankle circles. Finish the walk and do a small abs workout. 25 crunches, 10 corkscrews, superman and airplane, “v” ups, in and outs. That ought to about do it. Now go get a mug of tea and a good breakfast.
Update: Turns out it’s a ganglion cyst, and that they’re quite common (thanks Eric for identifying it first for me!), and can be caused by a number of factors including traumatic injury, twisting it wrong or even virtually nothing at all. Go figure. After reading about them I’ve learned they can be completely harmless or they can cause a bit of pain depending on where they’re located. Either way, they’re no big deal. Mine, as it was, hurt when I moved my wrist. The solution was as simple as pushing really hard on it until I felt it squish. It has since gone away and all is back to happy-happy. That is all, carry on… . Oh, but the workout idea and information above is still totally relevant!