Let’s see who can follow the simple instruction of putting their feet up and resting. No technology. No errands. Just feet up and rest. It’s difficult, isn’t it? We live in a world where we are told to be constantly on the go and doing something, so the idea of sitting still and letting the body just ‘be’, other than when you go to sleep, feels alien. This is how it feels after an injury. When you go to the gym on a regular basis, it can feel ridiculous to sit down and stop moving and working. You are statistically more likely to injure yourself at the gym than you are sitting still and resting, and truly, resting can be an art!
Injuries at the gym are common, painful and often debilitating. You can be set back for weeks and even months when it comes to an injury that you’ve had in the gym. The feet have tiny bones and an intricate muscular structure, so when one of those tiny pieces is injured, you can bet that there is even more time needed to rest and recover before you can get back to it. There are undeniable benefits to exercise and staying active and to suggest otherwise would be incorrect. But have you considered the risks and dangers of exercise, too? Staying active is easy but staying rested once you have an injury? That is an art. Resting is a strategy to overcome pain and heal things that are broken. When you’ve been injured, staying off work is difficult and there’s no guarantee that the amount of rest you’ve been told to do is going to help – as resting means different things to different people.
Asking yourself if there is such a thing as too much rest is a good start, as there is no guarantee that the rest you take to recover will be enough. If it’s too much, are you doing your muscles a disservice? These raised questions can cause you some stress as you try and work out how much rest is right for your specific injury. When you sprain an ankle, you avoid walking on it for a while, there’s a no brainer there! However, this becomes far more complicated when the injury leaves you with more at stake than a sore ankle. When you have an injury that drags on for weeks and months on end with seemingly no help from doctors as to why it isn’t healing, it’s far more difficult just to sit and rest. Your job could be at stake and your injury could stop you from earning a living. When something like that happens, you have to decide when to hire a medical malpractice lawyer and whether your injury is a result of that or not. Many people ignore the advice when it comes to rest, because for the most part, rest is an inconvenience. It interrupts the natural flow of life and makes it far harder to feel relaxed if stressed about the impact of sitting around.
Rest can have an effect on your everyday life that you didn’t anticipate. Contrary to popular belief, you won’t get out of shape just because you’re resting an injured foot. Rehabilitation of an injury and physiotherapy of muscle damage can actually help you go far with your recovery. Physical conditioning and toning the body should not be more important than resting the damage that has been caused. Heal first, worry about workouts later. You cannot have effective and lasting workouts if your body isn’t healed correctly, and that’s why rest is such an art. To be able to be still and adapt to a new way of doing things until the body is working at 100% again is not easy! Those who suffer extreme injuries heal far faster when they stop for a moment and allow their body to repair itself. After a period of rest, rehab, physio and gently going back into exercise, you can often feel stiff and out of shape: this is normal! You’re supposed to feel like you are starting again. Your body has just spent a length of time getting itself back to its best. Starting slowly means that you are allowing it the time it needs to work back into exercise at the level you have been used to.
It is important to ignore the advice that exercising through a problem will help it get better. Sure, this may work for a general twist of the ankle or a pulled muscle, but you cannot workout through a broken bone or a shin splint. You could end up suffering years of chronic and repetitive pain for simply not resting correctly! It takes time for tissues to break under the strain put upon it. It’s like a sickness, and the more strain put on the tissue the more it is likely to break. Without adequate rest, the tissues cannot repair properly and thus the cycle will continue. Activities and exercises that were never an issue suddenly become a problem and you end up moving less to accommodate for the extra pain. It’s a vicious cycle.
Rest is a very important part of exercise and recovery from injury. It’s an art, because the body is artistic in how it can intricately heal any injury – given the chance of course. Every single workout you do is an injury the body has to recover from and it’s important that you understand that going in. The reason rest days, cool downs and warm ups are so vital is because of the way that the body comes together to fix the minor repairs. If you don’t give your body a chance to do that, you are setting yourself up for the bigger injuries that take more time. The time you cannot afford to not have an income, to end up with depression because of the rate of painkillers and medication needed. This can all be avoided simply by taking it easy when you’re told. After all, it’s art!