Reaching Optimal Fitness and Peak Health Doesn’t Come Without Setbacks
After treating thousands of patients over the last decade I have noticed a commonality when in conversation. After mentioning that I’ve had four knee surgeries and an ankle surgery (updated Jan 2016 but the picture below hasn’t been updated) most patients appear slightly shocked. Especially considering the fact that I park my bicycle in my office when I ride. They seem surprised that I can ride to work with a ‘bad’ knee. Although suffering many injuries in the past, I’ve still managed to keep myself in top shape. The positive side effect of various injuries is that I’ve developed an enormous amount of empathy in treating others with their injuries and conditions.
EMPATHY /em·pa·thy/ (em´pah-the) intellectual and emotional awareness and understanding of another’s thoughts, feelings, and behavior.
If you want to get yourself in top shape you have to expect injuries along the way. Here are five tips to help you overcome:
- Get Diagnosed – Most people (me included!) think that injury ‘x’ will just go away on its own. If your injury is not improving after a few days you definitely should seek out a professional. Many injuries will heal up a lot quicker if you get properly diagnosed and treated EARLY.
- Follow Advice – When your healthcare professional makes recommendations regarding stretches, exercises, posture, ice/heat etc. please, please follow! So many of my clients hesitate (a giveaway) when I ask them at the follow-up appointment if they’ve followed my advice. If you’ve invested time and money in the treatments please get the most out of it by following the recommendations.
- Find Alternatives – After the first knee surgery I had to face the fact that playing hockey and basketball (my two favourite sports) would only make things worse. Instead I found new passions including cycling and surfing. It wasn’t easy initially giving up those sports but over time these new passions have replaced the old ones.
- Find the Positive – There is always a positive that you come away with even during the worst injury. You may need to search hard but you can always find a reason why this injury is going to make you stronger, better, or smarter. For example when I broke my left elbow in Grade 9 it made me a better basketball player. How? I could only shoot with my right hand during practice. This developed good back spin (a key fundamental to shooting) so when the left arm healed my shooting accuracy increased.
- Heal Stronger – Many times an injury will provide an insight that you had overlooked. A runner that ends up tearing a muscle may determine that the muscle was tight and weak. A once a week yoga class and some specific strengthening exercises could make that muscle far stronger and more flexible then it had ever been and increase the runner’s proficiency.
So next time you get injured follow these five steps and you will have a better chance of becoming stronger, better, and smarter!
This post is also featured on The GoodLife Blog.