Exercise is a great way to improve your mood, prevent cardiovascular diseases and boost your immune system. It can also be a fun way to spend your time once you find a sport you love. If you love to train, getting injured can be a major inconvenience. Speeding up your recovery can get you back into the game faster so you can keep doing the things you love!
When you love to move, it can be tempting to push through the pain of a minor injury. Sadly, continuing to exercise with an injured muscle only leads to more serious injuries, which will keep you out of the gym for longer. Staying off a slightly injured muscle as soon as you feel pain—and staying off it until it fully heals—is the best way to make sure you recover as soon as possible and you don’t reinjure yourself by reincorporating exercise too soon. That being said, it is still okay to exercise as long as you stay off your injured muscle. For example, skipping the floor work and only doing standing poses in yoga can still be appropriate for a forearm injury.
Keep Inflammation Down
One of the most common side effects of sports injuries is inflammation, which is important at first but can slow down recovery in excess. Applying ice and, later, heating pads in short but frequent intervals can help reduce inflammation faster and make your joints heal sooner. Elevating injured muscles or joints can also reduce inflammation by draining excess fluids away from them. If the anti-inflammatory properties of these strategies aren’t enough, you can also take topical anti-inflammatories or medications such as Tylenol.
Switch Up Your Diet
Certain vitamins and nutrients can help reduce inflammation, strengthen your bones and help you maintain or rebuild muscle mass. Incorporating foods containing these nutrients can help you recover faster as they give your body a boost for healing.
Protein is important while training, but it is just as important if not more so while recovering from an injury. When you injure a muscle, it needs to rebuild itself, which requires the same proteins you need to build muscle mass at the gym. Make sure to incorporate plenty of lean chicken, fish, tofu and nuts in your diet to speed up the process!
Vitamin C is commonly known for boosting your immune system, but it also serves as an anti-inflammatory and builds collagen. Collagen strengthens and maintains your bones and muscles. An increase in collagen can help your bones get stronger faster, so load up on fruits such as oranges and strawberries.
Calcium is also essential to bone strength, making it important all the time. While you’re exercising, it can help prevent fractures, and during injury it can speed up the repair of your bones. Dairy proteins such as milk and yogurt are great sources of this nutrient!
Zinc is a major component of the enzymes responsible for wound repair, and people who are zinc-deficient tend to recover more slowly. To keep these enzymes moving at a faster pace, incorporate plenty of meat, nuts, seeds and whole grains into your diet.
To keep your muscles from tightening or swelling too much, it is important to apply pressure. Gentle compression from a bandage with a foam rubber underneath will usually do the trick to reduce swelling, but you might need deep massage therapy. Massaging your muscles will help with oxygen flow and flexibility, both of which can help with faster recovery and the prevention of reinjury.
Getting Back Out There
Exercise can be an important part of your life, so speeding up muscle recovery to get back out there as soon as possible is important. Make sure to rest and use a variety of techniques to reduce inflammation and promote muscle rebuilding to get back to the gym in no time!