How many times did you hear this when you were a kid?
Mum- “Stop that right this instant. You’re going to hurt yourself.”
You- “Look mum, no hands. I can fly.”
Mum- “If you could fly, God would’ve given you wings. Now stop”
CRASH. BANG. BOOM.
And then the tears start streaming down. She did tell you after all. A mother always knows best except when she buys clothes too small for you because secretly, she never wants you to grow up.
Sound like your childhood? It was similar to mine except my mum would laugh at me when I got hurt because I was clumsy. Who am I kidding? I still am.
Unfortunately, this has resulted in lots on injuries including but not limited to
- Torn quadriceps
- Strained hamstrings
- Knee and ankle tendonitis
- Torn triceps tendon
- Tennis and golfer’s elbow
- Right A/C joint inflammation
- 3 herniated disks and several back spasms
- Lots of aches and pains because I’m old and complain a lot
Some were my fault, and some were just dumb luck and luckily for me, not all that serious, except for my back. People everyday suffer from much worse and for that, I’m thankful.
Here’s couple of lessons I’ve learnt along the injury path that can help you if you’re suffering.
1. Stay positive because it doesn’t last forever
When you’re hurt, and you’re limited in what you can do, it’s very easy to get down on yourself. You may think you’re getting weaker and smaller by the second when lifting those pink dumbbells in rehab.
Breaking news flash………. you’re not.
While addressing muscle imbalances (or training around sore spots) that you never knew you had (besides traumatic/chronic injuries) that may have led to getting hurt in the first place, you’re actually getting stronger.
Think about it.
Strengthening your weakness while maintaining some sort of training effect for the rest of your body will help you come back stronger when you hit the weights/playing field again.
This why it’s imperative to keep moving when you’re hurt. Besides, it’s only temporary and moving helps you remain in a better frame of mind.
All those professional athletes that come back from serious injuries cannot be wrong. How often have you heard injured athletes say they will come back bigger and stronger than ever? They’re usually right.
Maintaining this positive attitude throughout your injury will benefit you because nothing is forever, including being hurt.
2. You’re in pain and can’t do what you want
When every step hurts or every time you reach for something on the floor or from the cupboard, it sucks. There’s no sugar coating it. Being limited in what you can do in the gym or activities of daily living is not fun and it’s really hard to find the bright side of life.
However, when you’re uninjured, you can take pain-free movement for granted. That’s only natural. Who thinks about being hurt when their crushing a game on pick-up basketball? Nobody.
When I was going through my back troubles and couldn’t do a thing but drive to rehab and back, all I could think about was doing stuff pain-free and not having to worry about having back spasm every time I bent over.
The thing about being injured, it teaches you is to never take movement for granted. Ever.
Blessing: 2 Curse: 1 (it’s a 50/50 decision)
3. You learn to take better care of yourself…. Eventually
Rather than have my pity party, let me tell you about a client I once had.
She’s an older adult who has a history of meniscus dramas because she is pre-disposed to it because of the shape of it. She was constantly in and out of doctors’ offices getting her knee cleaned up or drained out, but she continued not to take better care of herself and was sloppy with her rehab.
But then the penny dropped because she realized her knee was stopping her from what she loved to do. The she became diligent after one of her knee procedures. She stopped personal training and was in the gym at the crack of dawn, doing her rehab exercises, so she could get back to being awesome.
Being injured multiple times teaches you that you really need to take care of yourself because being in pain sucks and not doing what you want sucks also.
4. Teaches you perspective
On my way to a physical therapy appointment, I was having a “woe is me moment.” My back was killing me, and I didn’t see any light at the end of the tunnel.
At that moment I walked past two guys on their way to PT. One was in a wheelchair with no legs, the other had an amputated leg below the knee, walking with the aid of a walker.
I felt like complete idiot.
When my therapist asked me how I was feeling, I had a response all cued up and ready to go.
“I was going to tell you I felt like shit. But then I walked past two guys in the car park without the use of their legs. I’m good, Mate, so let’s get to work.”
No matter how bad you’re feeling, someone has it much worse than you. Being hurt teaches you it could be much much worse. And hopefully you’re lucky enough to realize this.
Blessing for the win.
If you treat being injured as a learning experience, stay positive and keep moving, you’ll become a stronger and well-rounded person who appreciates the blessing that movement is.
Yes, even Zumba is a blessing.