A helpful guide on how to stay healthy and active during times of injury, sickness or other health setbacks in your life. Just because you’re not 100% doesn’t mean you have to give up on your goals!
If you follow me on social media, you’ve probably realized I haven’t been running or even exercised much (or at all) lately. Usually this type of extended break from exercise only when I am injured or ill, but that’s not really the case this go around and it’s time I fill you in.
For about 3 months now I’ve been dealing with severe chronic pain all throughout my body (and especially in my legs). I’ve had several tests done by various doctors and nothing appears to be structurally wrong…AKA I am not injured. However, the pain still persists. I have pain when I walk, when I am stationary, and even when I trying to sleep at night. Running is totally out of the question (as is running the Boston Marathon, obviously, this year…still processing that one) and nothing seems to be relieving some of my agony. Anti-inflammatories, stretching/foam rolling, sports massage, chiropractic adjustments…I’ve tried it all and nothing is helping unfortunately. I have several doctors appointments coming up with some specialists to venture down some alternative diagnostic routes, but until then, I am sort of at a loss for what is going on with my body.
I don’t feel like myself, I can’t perform like myself, I am in constant pain, and the mental anguish I am experiencing is worsening my anxiety and depression. I’ve been feeling really down about all of this lately, but in an attempt to keep myself out of the state of mind I found myself in at the beginning of the year (way too much to go into there), I am determined to find the positives in this situation and not dwell on my current restrictions.
Life happens. We all have ups and downs. There are always going to be setbacks. But the thing is…we DON’T have to fall into an all or nothing mindset. We can still prioritize our healthy living goals while dealing with obstacles in our path.
Today I am sharing 6 go-to strategies for staying active and healthy during setbacks in life. Whether you’re injured, sick, or life is just getting in the way, there are key things you can do each day to feel your best and set yourself up for a come back when the time is right.
Do what you CAN
Don’t dwell on what you CAN’T do. Sure, if you’re a runner, it sucks that you can’t log miles right now. Maybe take up spinning, go for long walks, or focus on strength training. Just because one part of your body may not be functional, doesn’t mean you’re totally out of the game. Speak with your doctors, or the team you’re working with, and ask them to offer suggestions and alternative activities that you CAN do in your current state. It might be a little hit to your ego to take up “easier” forms of training, but SOMETHING is better than nothing. Take this time to prioritize strength, flexibility, range of motion, basic movement work. Focusing in on these areas will set you up for a healthier comeback in the future!
Experiment with new forms of movement
As stated above, you may not be able to do what you’re used to doing, but that doesn’t mean you’re totally restricted. Try out a new workout class, embrace team sports, or learn a new form of mind-body connection, like Tai Chi. The options for active living and fitness are endless…there is literally something for EVERYONE out there. And hey, who knows? Maybe you’ll find a new favorite (or at least FUN!) way to move!
This is a big one (especially for me). Don’t take the easy way out and dwell on the lousy situation you’re in. That doesn’t help you in any way and may actually make the whole experience worse. Remember, your current situation is temporary. Don’t belittle yourself. You’re not lazy. You’re not less of a person. And this won’t last forever. You should not feel any guilt or shame over taking a necessary break from your typical fitness routine. Instead, congratulate yourself for listening to your body (and the doctors’ orders!) and taking the time off you need to heal/recover fully.
Embrace the rest
When is the last time you let yourself fully rest? Take a break from the daily grind and embrace relaxation? Probably been a while, right? And to be honest, that is most likely part of the overall problem. Injuries, illness, and burnout are so much more likely to lead to major health setbacks than incorporating regular rest. Take this time to reconnect your body and mind. Tune into how you’re feeling everyday and use what you learn going forward to stay more moderate and balanced in your fitness choices.
Dive into other passions
With the extra time you have that you’re not able to spend exercising or working out, try out a new hobby or discover a new way to challenge yourself that’s not necessarily physical. Maybe read that stack of books you’ve been neglecting. Take up writing in that journal you’ve been meaning to start. Spend more time with friends or family you haven’t seen. Indulge in a Netflix binge. Try to learn a new language. Experiment in the kitchen. Become a tourist in your own city. Find a DIY craft on Pinterest that excites you and get to crafting. The possibilities are endless and you’ll be happy that you’ve stayed productive during your downtime.
Focus on nutrition
If you can’t exercise as much or as regularly as you’re used to, focus on dialing in your nutrition and making the healthiest choices possible in your daily diet. Eating healthily, getting a mix of whole, nutrient dense foods each day, and boosting your diet with superfoods, can help you heal and recover faster. In addition, you should continue your supplement regimen or start one if you’re not taking any already.
Sports nutrition dietary supplements can play a beneficial role in your workout routine…whether you’re at peak performance or doing what you can for the time being (see above). But keep this in mind: dietary supplements are not intended to have the same immediate or dramatic effects that you would expect from taking a drug. Labels that sound too good to be true, probably are. Stick with supplements that have high quality ingredients, don’t contain SARMs (Selective Androgen Receptor Modulators), and bolster your already smart lifestyle choices. Dietary supplements can play an important role in good health, but they are meant as supplements to other healthy habits. Dietary supplements cannot make you superhuman.
Are you currently dealing with any health setbacks?
How do you stay active and healthy when life gets in the way?
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I was selected for this opportunity as a member of CLEVER and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.