From childhood, we are conditioned to avoid situations that will cause us harm. For our ancestors, this meant staying warm and sheltered and warding off dangerous predators. In the modern world, we face a very different set of challenges. Whether on the road, on the street, in the gym or even in the workplace, we face a variety of dangers both seen and unseen on a daily basis.
We do our best to mitigate the risk of injury in day to day life with Health and Safety Legislation but we can never truly eliminate the risk of injury wherever we go, although you should consider getting a lawyer to represent you if you were injured at work. As important as it is to reduce the risk of injury, it’s important to know how to help your body to heal when you are injured.
Not dealing with an injury effectively can prolong or even exacerbate it, leading to lost time at work (which could have grievous financial consequences if you have a less than the sympathetic employer) and a potential detriment to your overall health. The good news is that there are 4 simple steps that you can take to help your body to heal quickly and comprehensively.
Seek Medical Advice
Not all injuries are obvious, and it’s very often possible for you to injure yourself in ways that don’t manifest in noticeable ways until you’ve exacerbated the problem by over exerting yourself. For this reason, it’s important to seek medical advice as soon as the injury occurs and avoid self-diagnosis. Even if you aren’t in severe pain, a visit to the doctor will ensure that you heal in the right ways and avoid escalating the injury in ways you may not even be aware of.
Get Plenty of Rest
In today’s driven, goal obsessed world many of us struggle to get the rest we need at the best of time, let alone when injured. But as lofty as our ambitions may be, it’s vitally important to get plenty of rest when injured. For gym junkies, this may be easier said than done, but allowing your body time to heal will lead to greater gains in the long-term. While you may have conditioned yourself to ‘push through the burn’ there’s no nobility in soldiering on at the expense of your recovery.
When we are at rest, and particularly when asleep, this is when our body repairs damaged tissue and reduce inflammation of joints and connective tissues.
This may sound contradictory to the above point, but for numerous physical and psychological reasons, staying as active as possible despite your injury can significantly aid your recovery by preventing muscle deterioration and joint immobility. How you do this without potentially exacerbating your injury is up to you, but try to avoid heavy lifting and anything involving explosive movements. Swimming is a great, low impact way of improving your health and fitness and aiding your recovery. Staying active also encourages your brain’s production of endorphins, your body’s natural painkillers.
Just as nutrition accounts for 80-90% of your weight loss or fitness goals, your diet also makes a huge contribution to your ability to heal and recover. An injury is not just a physical impediment, it’s a huge blow to our psychological well being as we struggle to carry out activities that we used to be able to do with ease. This can lead us to become sedentary and comfort eat. But binging on processed fatty, salty and sugary foods can seriously impede your recovery.
Just as a builder can’t build a house without bricks, your body can’t recover without the right nutrients, so it’s important to load up on the right foods to help keep your body and your state of mind healthy. Every meal is an opportunity to aid your recovery and come back better than ever so make sure your meals are packed with these important nutrients:
Antioxidants: These are a great natural way of combatting inflammation and improving central nervous system function. These are found abundantly in berries, cherries, turmeric, ginger, herbal teas and coffee beans.
Protein: Your muscles and other cells are made from protein, and as your body repairs torn and damaged muscles, it needs more protein to do this effectively. Meat, eggs, dairy products, and fish are the most obvious sources, but vegans and vegetarians can load up on protein with beans, pulses, and soy or seitan based meat alternatives.
Vitamins A and C: Vitamin A protects healing cells from infection while Vitamin C helps to maintain bone, cartilage, and connective tissue. Both can be found in green leafy vegetables such as spinach, kale, and Swiss chard.