When you’re a hardcore exercise enthusiast, it can sometimes feel as though you’re invincible. Sure, you sometimes experience a few aches and bumps now and then, but those are just battle scars on your way to creating incredible physical health. It can sometimes feel like nothing and no one can hurt you, and that you can take on the world, stopping bullets with your bare hands.
But injuries do happen, whether it’s inside a gym or out in your regular life. And when these injuries happen, it can throw a wrench into everything you had built. It can cause anxiety – serious anxiety that makes it harder to recover from your injury and regain your exercise confidence.
Overcoming Your Injury Anxiety
As soon as your doctor clears you to resume normal activities, you don’t want your anxiety to hold you back. That’s why it’s important to fight the anxiety you feel, so that you can get yourself back into fitness on your way to your fitness goals.
Your physical therapist will give you the best advice for avoiding injury. But try the following tips to also help you overcome any nervousness you feel when you try to get back into your exercise routine:
1. Don’t Challenge Yourself… Right Away – Normally, challenging yourself is exactly what you need. Resistance and intensity are the most important aspect of improving your physical fitness. But when you’ve gotten back from an injury, you want to just get used to doing these exercises again. Going to a drastically lower weight or jogging at a much slower pace will help you get used to the lifestyle again without worrying about re-injury.
2. Face the Fear – If your injury occurred during your workout, at some point, when it’s physically healthy to do so, you need to face the problem that caused the injury. If the injury was caused by falling hard on your arm, then you need to practice falling hard on your arm. Get used to it until it’s no longer scary for you and until you’re less afraid of falling again.
3. Improve Your Daily Anxiety – Anxiety is a cumulative problem. If you’ve got anxiety in your regular life (from work, etc.), then you’ll get more anxiety when you get back and exercise. The more you control your anxiety in every component of your life the less you’ll experience the effects of exercise anxiety.
4. Avoid Self-Medicating – Behaviors that are used to self-medicate – like drinking, partying, gambling, etc. – need to be avoided at all costs. They should be avoided anyway, because these unhealthy habits are bad for your mental and physical health. But if you insist on doing them, they absolutely need to be avoided while you’re recovering. Your ability to cope depends on your own mental strength. When you experience a lot of anxiety and still perform those behaviors, your mind starts to depend on them to get over the anxiety. Until you feel better, avoid anything that can be described as “self-medicating” at all costs.
5. Perform in Parts – Once you’re ready to take on your workload again, break it up into parts before going for the full set. Make sure you’ve given yourself a chance to calm down in between each part, and then over time start to merge those parts together so that you’re back to your normal routine.
You shouldn’t try to rush recovery after an injury. But once you’re cleared to go, you shouldn’t let anxiety hold you back. Part of overcoming that anxiety is simply getting back into the groove, and forcing yourself to keep at it until you’re comfortable again. Follow the above tips to get back into the swing of your workout and get back to your peak physical health.