Keeping Sane During Injury


Instead of getting depressed and angry about my lack of movement, I tried to look on the positive side. 


About a year and a half ago I fracture my pelvis.  The doctor didn’t even need to order an MRI to see that big crack on the Xray.  It didn’t happen with a fall–it just happened.  Looking back on it, I was running too much, putting too many miles on my body without proper recovery, and I was too thin.  I was less than a year out from losing my late husband to cancer, and I was still in stress mode.

With a pelvic fracture there isn’t much that can be done for treatment.  He told me to just rest it as much as possible and “move as little as possible.”  At the time I was a single mom to two boys, ages 4 and 6.  And how was I supposed to not move?

I used a walker inside the house, but my pride limited me to using a cane in public.  I was in enormous pain, so when he said absolutely no exercise for 12 weeks I didn’t even try to cheat.  Ok…maybe around week 10 I started to get really antsy, but those first 2 months were 100% complete rest with no movement without my walker or cane.  I couldn’t even lift upper body weights because I couldn’t stabilize myself enough to be able to lift anything without pain.

When sitting on the sidelines with an injury, the mental aspect is really harder than any physical pain.  I was used to exercising for at least an hour every day and now I could do NOTHING.  I was afraid my body would blow up from lack of calories burned, but it didn’t.  I wasn’t entirely conscious, believe it or not, of cutting back on my food intake to make up for less exercise, but I didn’t gain weight during my time away.  In fact, I think it was actually good for me.  Sometimes some forced rest is the best medicine.

Instead of getting depressed and angry about my lack of movement, I tried to look on the positive side.

-I was able to sleep past 4:30 AM
-I wasn’t completely exhausted at the end of the night
-I had more time in the morning
-I used that time to start a gratitude journal to focus on the positive
-I became acutely aware of how lucky I am to normally be very healthy, and I made a pact with myself to never take my health for granted
-I took the time off to develop a new exercise strategy that would be healthier for me in the long run.
-I was determined to allow this injury to completely heal and not be chronic problem.

After the 10-12 weeks were up, I slowly and steadily got myself back into shape.  I knew that if I did too much too fast I would just end up right back on the sidelines.  I followed the 10% rule where I didn’t do more than 10% more exercise each week than the week before.

The good news to report is that I haven’t been injured since!  I work out smarter now, with health and injury prevention as my main goals instead of performance.  Who am I kidding?  I’m not breaking any Olympic records, so why train so hard?  It’s all about balance……I’m still a work in progress, but definitely on the right track!



Tara Collingwood
Tara is a nationally recognized expert and spokesperson on nutrition, fitness, and health promotion and is quoted in a variety of media including television, radio, newspapers, magazines, and websites.

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