We have all been injured to some extent before. It can happen while exercising, and for some sports like American Football, injuries just come with the territory.
This post isn't going to be about why injuries happen or on how to prevent injury but on what to do when it happens. Depending on the severity of injury, your return to exercise or sport can take a couple of days to a few months or more. Exactly what happened will also determine who is going to get involved with your care from orthopedic doctors to physical therapists to fitness trainers.
At Wah Lum, we recently had a member hurt his ankle and one of the first things his physician told him was the general time frame to return to exercise; two months. A mistake often made here is limiting yourself completely during this two month period.
In the book High Performance for Sports, the author David Joyce (from Western Force Rugby) asks that we not use the term rehab for the injured athlete but think of it as retraining. Don't look at the injury as hand brakes or a limit. Ask yourself, "What CAN I do?" Be more creative.
Being injured can help you work on other aspects of your athleticism. If you just had ankle reconstruction then you can work on upper body pulling strength. If one limb is injured, train the other limb to get a positive cross over effect. If your entire body is limited in movement then you can visualize your exercise. Some sports require split second decision making on the field. An injury may be the time to focus on training the mental aspect of your game.
If you are reading this article, I am going to assume that you can breathe. Focusing and improving the quality of breathing can be a small adjustment made in life that yields large results someplace else. Don't take it for granted.
You have to respect your limits but instead of just waiting for time to go by, make a list of competencies to get you back in action. Once you complete one competency then move on to the next step. The important part is to get as much stimulus as possible without compromising your well being and health.
One thing we can all do regardless of the injury is get rid of self pity. No more lip dragging. Instead look at the injury as an opportunity to make yourself the best athlete, martial artist, or even super parent (that's a sport right?), you can be.