Regardless of the type of exercise regimen you’ve chosen, chances are that sooner or later you’re going to push yourself too hard and suffer some type of injury. Even if you’re careful, accidents can happen, so you want to be prepared when they do.
Luckily, the most common types of injuries that occur during exercise, such as sprains, strains, muscle cramps, and the like, are not too detrimental, although contact sports, for example, can certainly lead to more serious bodily harm. When it comes to addressing these issues so that you can get back on track with your workout routine, there are a few simple steps you can take to ensure a speedy recovery.
Here are some tips that should help you to treat any injuries you may sustain.
The first thing you need to do is determine the severity of your injury.
For example, it’s important to know the difference between a muscle cramp, which may be treated fairly immediately through stretching and hydrating, and a sprain or strain, which will certainly require more than a few minutes of rest and light stretching to correct before you can get back to lifting weights or swimming laps.
Although you may not be as qualified as a doctor to diagnose common exercise injuries, and you may therefore want to call your physician for an exam if you’re not sure about the cause of ongoing or chronic pain, most athletes and even amateur exercise aficionados can tell when something is seriously wrong and when they can handle recuperation on their own.
Having a first-aid kit on hand to deal with minor injuries is a good idea, so throw one in your gym bag post haste. Such a kit might include standard fare like Band-Aids, gauze, and antiseptic for cuts and scrapes, as well as aspirin to tone down pain. But for the purposes of exercise-related injuries you might also want to include some Tiger Balm or Icy Hot for sore muscles and a couple different sizes of Ace bandages for sprains.
Hot and cold.
There seem to be two camps when it comes to the use of hot or cold therapies to treat sports injuries. On the one hand, no one disputes that ice reduces swelling and is therefore preferable in certain situations. But some people claim that heat relaxes muscles and increases circulation, bringing more blood and oxygen to the injured area, thus speeding healing. You may even alternate them, which some claim can speed recovery, but you should talk to your health care professional (doctor or physical therapist) to ensure that you choose the right method for your injury and that you use it correctly.
Most of the time, what you really need to heal injuries sustained during exercise is time, which means getting the rest and relaxation your body needs to mend itself. Although you might be tempted to return to your regimen as soon as possible, the truth is that you can easily re-injure yourself (and cause additional damage, requiring even more healing time) by returning to activity too soon.
If you happen to exercise and injure yourself frequently, you can certainly take an NYC or QLD first aid course in order to better treat yourself. But you might also want to keep your doctor on speed dial. This medical professional can not only diagnose and treat your injuries, as well as refer you for extras like physical therapy, but he/she may also provide recommendations that will help you to avoid future harm.