Being injured sucks, plain and simple. Depending on the injury sustained you could be out of the water completely for weeks or months at a time, which is obviously no fun. Even the best of the best athletes get injured and have to work through these injuries to get back on the water.
Supconnect’s 2016 Woman of the Year, Seychelle Webster, recently was struck with an unfortunate injury to the ribs and worked on her recovery for weeks. We reached out to her to get her tips and advice on how you can help to speed up recovery while you’re injured to get you back on the water as soon as possible. Here’s what she said:
Give yourself the time you need to adequately rest and heal. The last thing an athlete wants to do is take time off from training or cancel a race because of an injury, but listening to your body and taking the time to heal properly before an injury becomes chronic is so important. Ignoring the signs of injury early on, only leads to a worse condition later and one that you could be stuck with the rest of your life. Adequate rest includes getting the proper amount of sleep, especially while the body is healing. Healthy athletes who get enough sleep (8-9 hours) are less prone to injuries as well.
Seek out the advise of a professional chiropractor, massage therapist, or (my personal favorite) acupuncturist. Depending on the nature of your injury, each of these therapies will treat symptoms differently. I try to have a balance of all three, depending on how my budget and body are feeling. Having a bodyworker that you see regularly is beneficial because they will know your body, (quite intimately) your past and present injuries, and how to efficiently address your symptoms. I have also found that trying a new therapist every now and then who will view your body with ‘fresh’ eyes can have its benefits as well.
3. Self Myofascial Release
Getting to the therapist every week can be expensive, but there are ways that you can get some of the benefits of deep tissue work at home, by yourself, every day. Foam rollers, accu balls, and Theracane are three good examples. I try and do 20 minutes a day (combined with yoga) when I’m not injured and 1 hour a day or more when I am dealing with an injury. It sounds like a lot, but when I cannot get out and paddle for an hour, I might as well stretch and roll and move my body in a way that is helping facilitate healing. A word of caution, please seek out professional advise on whether or not these techniques are appropriate for your injury and how to best approach them.
4. Thermo and Cryotherapy
Heat and Cold. The applications of hot and cold therapies have been used to treat sports injuries for as long as we can document them. Use ice to reduce pain and inflammation. Use heat to increase metabolic rate and blood flow. Both will speed up recovery and both are readily done at home with little to no cost. In fact I am currently wrapped up in a homemade epsom salt hot compress (towel) because I don’t have a bath tub and my massage therapist wants me to soak. 😉
It seems like diet is the answer to most questions in life. Eating right can help nourish the body back to health. Looks for foods rich in vitamin C and A like citrus and spinach; also minerals Zinc and Magnesium like nuts and seeds; as well as foods high in antioxidants and with anti-inflammatory properties like berries, turmeric, ginger. Make sure you are eating enough calories and getting enough protein.
6. Stay Positive
Being injured sucks. I know. And it always seems to come at the worst time, but keep a positive attitude. Regardless of how long it may take to heal, with the right mental attitude, you will come back stronger than ever! Take this time to work on a different approach to fitness and training, maybe you can hone in on your diet, or start taking those yoga classes you always said you should try, or practicing breath work and meditation to improve stress, recovery, and athletic performance. I know from experience, because I am going through it right now, that it is very easy to get down on yourself when you can’t be out there training, but know that taking the time to heal is the best thing you can do for you body in the long run. And by staying optimistic, the time will be over before you know it, so enjoy some R & R!