Most people have struggled back from an injury at one time or another. Whether it is after twisting your ankle whilst walking or playing semi-pro rugby at the weekend, it’s always surprising how long it can take to fully recover. It’s not normally any one thing that speeds up the healing process but a combination of factors that will make the difference. Here are the top 5 ways you can incorporate into your plan to speed up your recovery significantly.
1) Eat For Recovery
As your body heals, it’s important to remember to give it the building blocks it needs to repair your tissues. Good quality protein, amino acids, fatty fish for those essential omega-3 oils and the vitamins from a variety of vegetables are all essential for recovery. A balance diet also ensures you stay fit and well and also helps in avoiding colds and viruses that can slow down your recovery.
2) Quit Smoking
Bones and soft tissue healing can be delayed if you smoke. When you want to return to activity as quickly as possible, stopping smoking can be an effective way to aid this process and maximise the healing times. Don’t go it alone. Your GP or physio can signpost you to plenty of schemes set up specifically to help and support you in stopping.
3) Stay Active
Keeping the rest of your body fit including your cardiovascular system and heart hugely aids recovery from injury. Ask your physio for ways in which you can continue to raise your heart rate effectively even with your current injury. That may be changing your sport temporarily to swimming or getting on a static bike if you have injured your arm. There are always options.
4) Exercise The Uninjured Side
Our bodies are symmetrical and so are the brain areas involved in the sensation and movement of our body parts. If one leg is injured and out of action, possibly because you are in a plaster cast for a number of weeks, try exercising the opposite leg. There is emerging evidence that by exercising the other limb you will see benefits in maintaining some strength and movement in your injured limb once you get it moving again. Give it a try!
5) Follow Your Rehab Advice
Often we see patients coming back to rehab sessions with excuses about not being able to fit in exercises, or not completing the number of exercises recommended. Getting into a good habit of exercise on a regular basis during your recovery, listening to the advice given to you by your therapist and hard work cannot be beaten for speeding up recovery.
Post by Leanne Plenge, Physiotherapist and Bristol Manager.