As you know, I’ve been recovering from a car accident that happened in July. Last month I rested A LOT. Seriously, I was sleeping all day. I never knew I could be that tired. Now I still need to nap in the afternoon, but I’m not feeling as whipped out exhausted as I was a week ago. It’s good sign my body is healing. Because I have a lot of experience being injured last year, I know all too well this is the time to rest because the real work comes after everything heals. With this type of injury, I’m anticipating just how hard the rest of this year will be. It actually scares me. I’ve read recovering from a tibia fracture takes one year, but my doctor says with how active I am I should be back to where I was in nine months. Still, recovering from any injury is hard work and I want to stay as strong as I can. Today I’m showing you 8 Ways I Stay Active & Healthy Being Injured. These are things I’m doing to help my body heal, keep it strong and prepare it for the hard work ahead.
I swim 4-5 days a week. Since swimming is non weight bearing cardio, it allows me to stay active and maintain my fitness without interrupting the healing my body is doing. My body craves movement every day especially with my bad hip. If I don’t keep myself moving, I will be stiff like an old lady. Not to mention, swimming is an awesome total body workout and great for strengthening and toning.
I hear so many people say “I could never be a swimmer.” I certainly relate to that. I was not a swimmer before my first injury last year. In fact, I couldn’t swim a lap with my face in the water. I’m claustrophobic and the thought of putting my face in the water freaked me out but over time, I was able to overcome that fear. Now it’s no big deal. Before last year, I never imagined I would enjoy swimming this much. Now I could not imagine my life without the pool. Sometimes good things come out bad.
I do freestyle laps then drill kicks in between sets to strengthen my legs. After swimming, I do strength work on the mat to keep my ankles, hips and glutes strong and of course, stretch. I still lift upper body weights gimping around from machine to machine. #whatyoucanwhenyoucan
Two weeks ago, I began working with a therapist to loosen up my neck from the whiplash. After the accident, I was unable to turn my head to the right. It felt like it was getting stuck. I was also getting terrible headaches. My therapist has me doing isolated shoulder and back exercises to support my neck. Then he beats me up with a lot of stretching and massage. He told me years of working on a computer is partly to blame. My body is used to rolling its shoulders forward which has caused the supportive muscles to weaken. I have to train my body to pull back and support with the core when I am sitting. Now when I’m on the computer, I have to be very aware of my shoulder placement otherwise I start to have neck pain and feel sick.
Because of all my stress fractures last year, my doctor prescribed a bone stimulator which I wear nightly for 20 minutes. It’s an ultra sound machine for bones that essentially encourages blood flow to the area of the fracture to promote healing. Not many people are aware of them. Due to their high cost (~$5,000), they are not offered to many patients. Studies show they accelerate healing by 38%. Crossing my fingers it reduces my time on the crutches.
As luck would have it, I started a 10 week acupuncture treatment the day after the car accident. It was originally scheduled for my hormone issues. The timing of the accident couldn’t have been better. My doctor was able to treat both issues at the same time. Acupuncture is believed to open the energy channels in the body allowing healing to take place better. Sometimes when we get hurt, blockages occur in the body. As a result, energy cannot flow properly to the injured area to help it heal. For me, acupuncture has been a life savior. After three treatments, I had no more pain in my knee where the fracture is.
Quality Vitamins & Minerals
The month before the accident, I began taking better quality supplements to heal my body, the important ones being calcium, magnesium, K2, fish oil and B12 injections. My doctor ran labs and discovered some things that were contributing my hormone issues which I will get into in a future post. She had me bring her my supplements so she could review them. She determined a few did not have quality ingredients and switched them for different brands.
Many supplements contain fillers or additives. As with any food, you have to pay attention to the ingredient list to know if you’re getting what you really need. My doctor also added a couple new things to my supplements to heal my leaky gut and cleanse my liver and kidneys. After the accident, we reviewed my supplements again to be sure it was appropriate for healing the fracture which they were.
Despite the fact that I’m not working out as much, I know my body needs vital nutrients and significant protein to repair itself. I’ve done a lot of research about fractures. When the body repairs a fracture, it needs protein to repair bone and 2-3 times the number of calories to remodel bone. Surprising, right? This is a good read on this topic.
While I can’t say I’m eating that many calories, I am making a conscious effort to eat high quality, nutrient dense foods and protein dense meals. I also eat anytime I am hungry without thinking twice. I only hope my body is absorbing all the good stuff because absorption can be a challenge for my body.
Because I’m wearing a knee brace that doesn’t allow my knee to bend more than 40 degrees and I’m on crutches, the muscles in my calf, quad and foot have been cramping horribly. My doctor believes it is, in part, due to low magnesium which I plan to talk to my naturopath about. I already take 2 times the daily recommended amount, but I suspect the bone regeneration my body is doing right now is making me deficient. I foam roll both my legs daily and roll my foot on a golf ball to release the tension. The arch in my foot has weakened significantly. I can hardly flex it. I keep telling myself I need to start picking up marbles with my foot. Now I love to workout, but that’s one exercise I do not like to do which is probably why I keep putting it off.
Last year I started taking personal Pilates lessons. My PT referred me to Jody, who is excellent not to mention a super sweet! Jody has helped me build flexibility and most importantly, release my hip flexors. She’s been teaching me to use my transverse abdominals to release the tension in my hips. Having an injured hip from college, this is something really hard for me to do. When I focus hard, I’m able to do. The moves you see in these videos may look easy but truthfully, they are very hard when you have to rely solely on your back and core muscles to move your entire body. Pilates has changed my entire approach to fitness. I honestly wish I could take Jody to the gym with me everyday. She is really an amazing instructor!
After I got the news about the fracture, I contacted my PT and personal Pilates instructor. I knew I could not just sit on my tush for 12 weeks. I have a bad hip and it only takes one day of sitting around like a slob kabob for it to get angry. The two of them came up with a plan to work around the fracture while it’s healing to keep my hip happy. It’s been hard work, but hopefully it’ll pay off. If you’re in Phoenix, I highly recommend Jody and can give you her details if you’re interested.
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I think the biggest misconception people have about injuries is that they cannot be active while they are injured, but the truth is you can always find a way to modify an exercise. I believe building strength is key in recovering from any injury. I may lose my fitness, but I know from experience it comes back quickly. If my muscles and core are not strong and I start doing cardio again, my risk for injury is much greater. As always, this is what works for me. Check with your doctor or medical professional if you have questions about your own health.
How do you stay active while you are injured or ill?
With Health, Food & Love,
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