We've heard about the benefits of engaging in regular exercise. Sleep, immune function, and moods are generally improved. Physically, your body becomes leaner and everyday tasks become easier to perform. But one of my all time favourite benefits is one that a student got to experience firsthand this week.
That last snowy morning we had a few weeks ago, one student slipped on front stairs outside of her bungalow. An icy patch under the fresh snow sent her flying upward like something out of a comic strip. Only, she landed most unfortunately with her back cracking right into a cement step.
While I do not wish injury to anyone, ever, there is a silver lining here. When this student reported to me with this injury it was followed with, "I am going to be out for the rest of the month." She was certain that this was going to leave her sidelined for at least a month, potentially longer. She complained about being unable to get up and down out of chairs and bed unassisted. She spoke of needing to take ibuprofen every 4 to 6 hours to stay ahead of the pain. I listened and responded, "I'll see you in 2 weeks."
Of course, this is not to urge anyone to come back to exercise with the same intensity pre-injury too quickly. But this is to speak to how quickly a fit person can recover from an injury. No pun intended.
This student has been working with me for a year now. I have seen her grow so much stronger, her body has transformed, and her attitude has shifted so dramatically in that year, that I knew she would be moving within two weeks. Ten days later, she was beginning to feel better and wondered if it would be safe for her to come in for a TRX® suspension training workshiop. Knowing that the format is particularly beneficial for those needing to work with resistance that is easy on the joints and spine while working the muscles in the back, I had no qualms about her coming in. Her doctor said to come back to exercise as soon as she was relatively pain-free, this was her shot, and lo and behold, she did just fine.
That class was followed up with gentle yoga, Fit Training, more TRX®, with usage of heat, compression and ice, under medical advice, but all signs pointed to the 2 week recovery period I'd predicted. I am not psychic, nor a medical professional, but I do know my students. A student with a strong base of fitness is going to rebound quickly when they have spent a year becoming more aware of their body, strengthening their back and core, and improving their range of motion. This student had all of those things working in her favour. I'd even argue that the gentle workouts she'd done helped encourage circulation in a way that she would not have gotten by simply resting.
When soft tissue becomes damaged, such as the severe contusion this student had on her back, it requires the nutrients found in blood and lymphatic fluid to repair. Bringing blood and lymphatic flow to the affected area through light activity, gentle massage, and treatments administered by a physical therapist (e.g. ultrasound, electrostim, TENS), hastens this process. Again, once the initial 24-48 hours of severe swelling has passed and movement is restored, light activity can and should be resumed.
This student seemed genuinely surprised by her quick turn around. I, however, never doubted. This is what magic occurs when I get to work with students in a small setting. I cannot tell you how many times a student would approach me before I'd lead a class in a big box gym or park district, complaining about pain or a recent injury, and essentially asking permission to participate in class. Not knowing these students out of a room full of 20 to 40 others, I couldn't effectively advise them as to what was a safe and appropriate level of intensity for them to work within.
Accidents can and will happen in life, even when walking cautiously down stairs in appropriate footwear. But what you can count on once you've committed to becoming and remaining active is that you will recover faster than you would have before you'd taken that commitment on. This is one of the reasons I tend not to get hung up on promoting transformations that are purely aesthetic. Being active is a lifestyle that leads to a better quality of life. And if your exercise is not giving you that, I'd wonder if the format of movement you're choosing is appropriate. Not sure? Come on in for a free fitness assessment and we can discuss further.
Stay safe, my friends!
Disclaimer: Fit Club is not a medical doctor and the information contained herein should not be taken as medical advice. These are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any health problem. Recommendations by Fit Club are not intended to replace the advice of a physician or health professional. Please consult your physician or a health professional before beginning any diet or exercise program.