As an athlete, I was always the scrappy player. What I lack in bulk, I make up for in hustle, drive, and a high pain tolerance. Consequently, as a young athlete, knees were always scabbed up throughout basketball season and shins were spotted with bruises during spring soccer. I became a pro at taping ankles, tolerating ice baths, and hiding injuries from my (understandably) concerned mom.
There were several painful setbacks during high school and college that temporarily changed my role from a player to a bench cheerleader. Although serious injuries were a nightmare for me as a young athlete, I now see how much of a blessing each of those obstacles was.
Never wanting to lose my edge while injured, I always found a way to continue improving in the gym. If an ankle was sprained, it was an great chance to focus more on upper body and core strength. Healing from a torn thumb ligament was an opportunity to up my cardio game by training for a triathlon.
Although I still stay active and participate in races and sports when possible, as a mom, I am now also navigating pregnancies, postpartum rehab, and embarrassing kitchen knife injuries. I continue to find myself needing to make workout adaptations to fit my body’s ever changing demands and limitations. These potential hurdles force increased creativity in workouts, branching outside of my comfort zone, and expanding my fitness knowledge base.
Injuries or physical limitations can actually be a gift in disguise if you take advantage of the opportunity. Sadly, people often completely write off exercise as soon as they get hurt or feel an old injury flare up. This leads to weeks or months of a sedentary lifestyle, making it so much harder physically and mentally for them to return to a solid workout routine once they are 100% healed.
So the next time your knee is acting up, don’t throw your hands up simply because you can’t run or do plyos. Instead, get your butt in the gym to lift (obviously avoiding lifts that would exacerbate your knee). Or turn on a upper body and/or core focused body weight workout video at home and break a sweat.
Stop making excuses. Adapt and overcome.
Is it tough to push through and still get a workout in when you’re not feeling 100% due to an injury or other limitation? Yes! There have been plenty of days when I find it tough to get started on a workout. But I’ve never regretted the decision post workout. That choice leads to better sleep, increased energy, and mental clarity, just to name a few. It’s worth it so get moving.
If you don’t know where to start with working around a current injury, just ask. Shoot me an email (firstname.lastname@example.org) or write a comment below, and I’ll give you a few pointers. I look forward to hearing from the injured!