5 Fastest Ways to Heal Your Sports Injury
10s summary of article
- Prevention is better than cure
- Allow Healing!
- Supplements and Diet
- Sleep like the Dead
- Leave it Alone!
1) Prevention is better than cure!
Remember warm ups? Vast majority of sport injuries can be avoided by doing some kind of warm-up, consisting of either some cardio or stretching prior to the sport. Soft tissues that have been warmed-up and stretched before activity are far less likely to get injured during the sport.
2) Allow Healing!
Sounds obvious, but how many times have you ignored your family, friends and doctors advice and went on to play Sunday afternoon soccer through a ‘small injury’? I have to admit I am guilty of this too. An injured body part will struggle to heal if it is repeatedly used after an injury. Pain is an excellent indicator of an ongoing injury and should not be ignored, even if that means resting from daily functional activities or sports. Continuing to use the injured body part may aggravate an acute injury and turn it into a chronic one. Practice patience! It will serve you better in the long term.
3) Supplements and Diet
Healing from a sports injury works exactly the same way as building muscles. The flesh that has been damaged is also made of protein and to heal it, your body will need to build more tissue. Supply your healing cells with everything they need by focusing on lean protein in your diet during recovery. Every athlete knows that hydration is key to almost everything about the body from exercise to surviving an illness. However, knowing and doing are two different things. When your routine is thrown off by an injury, it's all too easy to forget to keep hydrating as much as you usually do. While you may not be running your miles or playing your favorite sport this week, your body is still hard at work mending and building new tissue to replace or repair what was injured. You're going to need plenty of hydration to keep yourself in good shape during this process. That said, look to water and fruit juices more than your usual sports drinks, especially if you're still fighting the battle against swelling. Too much salt in your diet can cause you to retain water and make it more difficult to decrease swelling. Because you aren't sweating as much, you don't need the salt and electrolytes the same way, but you do need the hydration.
4) Sleep Like the Dead
Everyone knows sleep is important.. But exactly how important is it? As it turns out, sleep is actually more important than good nutrition when it comes to actually healing faster. Getting a good night's sleep not only conserves your body's energy for healing, it also releases oxygen to break up lactic acid in your muscles and produces HGH to help you build new tissue at an unusually high rate. A recent study from the APS has shown that subjects who get 7-9 hours of sleep heal minor surface wounds significantly faster than subjects who were sleep-deprived but given carefully balanced nutrient and protein supplements. What's funny is that the researchers were trying to prove that their supplements could replace sleep in the healing process. If you want to heal quickly, don't just rest around the house, try to get more sleep than usual. Nap in the afternoon and then make the house cold at night and try to really slumber. The more time you spend asleep, the faster your body will be able to heal by dedicating resources and producing growth hormone.
5) Leave it Alone
Let your body work its magic! After all the supplements, nutrition and sleep you did for your body, don't mess with your injury too much as it heals. As all our mothers would say "Don't pick at it." Sometimes your urge to 'tend' a wound can be useful but constant attention won't do you as much good as you might think. Don't prod at a bruise or sprain that hurts, don't pick at your scabs, and don't put yourself at risk of re-injury. Instead, wrap it up and try to distract yourself for the next few days while the most important part of the healing occurs.