Stay Motivated Through Injury
How to Stay Motivated Through Injury
by: Shannon Rowley
In the past few months, my mental state not only as an exerciser but also as an instructor has been put to the ultimate test. I have recently had to learn how to overcome the physical and mental challenges of recovering from an injury that has hindered my fitness goals. Learning how to stay motivated through my injury(injuries) has been the biggest hurdle I have had to overcome since starting my fitness journey.
My first reaction after hurting my back was to simply work through it. I figured it would get better after a couple of days. The fact was, that it didn’t get better. After a few weeks I saw an orthopedic and a chiropractor and both agreed giving it time would eventually help. But in the meantime what do I do? As a stubborn woman I kept on exercising, but as a fitness instructor knew I had limitations. I’d start feeling a little better, then have a setback. I knew stopping exercising all together wasn’t the answer, but could barely make it through a workout. My frustration was at an all-time high and motivation for working out was almost completely gone. I knew I had to figure something out to keep myself connected.
First and foremost, I confirmed with a physician that my injury wasn’t something that would become worse with consistent exercise. I am not saying all injuries require a doctor visit, but it’s a good idea for you to seek a physician’s advice especially if an injury has been lasting a while. This will allow you to have a clear understanding of what you should be doing. Next you have to set reasonable expectations for yourself. It’s important to let your body heal, but equally important to not limit too much or stop altogether. It takes 6 weeks to form a healthy habit, but only 2 to completely loose it. Instead of 6 hard workouts a week, I had to limit it myself to 3-4. After you get into a temporary routine, you will eventually figure out what triggers the pain or relapses and can avoid those particular things. With the help and support of my amazing trainers they gave me other things I could do at every workout. The key is finding what you CAN do as opposed to focusing on what you can’t do. There is a world of exercises out there for every body part, you just have to find the ones that work for you and your current situation. After finding the right exercises, I tried focusing on eating even better than I already had been to offset the missed workouts. Nothing makes you feel worse than less exercise and eating unhealthy. When you feel worse, you lose that motivation and drive altogether. Asking for extra help from a trainer or having a friend to work out with is very helpful in sticking to it. Let people know what is going on so they can give you suggestions, work with you and simply provide emotional support during your recovery. Finally, stay focused on the big picture. In the grand scheme of things even a month or two of lighter workouts will not make you into a ball of mush. An injury isn’t a weakness, it’s a temporary ailment that in the end makes you stronger once it’s overcome.