Psychological Effects of an Injury

Unfortunately, injuries happen to even the best athletes. Whether you strain your shoulder while throwing a ball around with the kid next door or turn your ankle while stepping off of a street curb.

It's a hard fact — injuries do occur. When they do, they will limit your exercise routine significantly depending on the extent of your injury.

Though you may not necessarily be addicted to exercise, you may experience some of the same responses as an exercise addict. This is just your body's way of telling you that it has become accustomed to regular exercise. The frustration you may feel often comes from not having a choice in whether you perform physical activity. Irritability, anxiety, low self-esteem, and guilt are just some of the emotions that an injured individual who leads an active lifestyle may feel when forced to curtail physical activity.

Don't Let an Injury Get You Down

No one expects you to walk around saying, “I am so happy that I dislocated my shoulder! How cool is that?” However, it's important to maintain a positive attitude about your injury. It has been discovered by athletic trainers that injuries can heal faster by using combinations of a social support structure, healing imagery exercises, goal setting, and positive self-talk. Athletes should maintain positive behaviors when injured, which will better equip them to handle injuries.

Athletes are more likely to comply with their rehabilitation and treatment processes by staying motivated, dedicated, and determined to heal and get better. Athletes are more likely to ask questions and are therefore often more knowledgeable about their injuries. An injury should be seen as a learning process. If you pay close attention to the effects of the injury, you can learn a lot about yourself and your behaviors.

ALERT

Training through an injury does not make you tough. If anything, it just causes your injury to get even worse and could even lead to permanent damage! Listen to your body and your physician. It's always best to ask your doctor about specific types of exercises you can perform while healing, thus allowing you to stay in shape without upsetting your injury.

Tips for Continuing Your Training Program

Many people find it easier to start rather than stick with a training program. Fifty percent of people drop out of training programs within six months. Once you get past the six-month mark, it is likely that it has become part of your lifestyle and continuing it won't be a problem. The following is a list of common tips that people who exercise as part of their daily lives use to keep themselves motivated.

Training Continuation Tips

Tailor the intensity, duration, and frequency of training sessions to your level.

Exercise with a friend.

Find or make a convenient place to exercise.

Utilize music that motivates you.

Set realistic goals.

Keep an exercise journal.

Tell others what you are doing.

Post notes around your living quarters to remind you of your goals.

Reward yourself for achieving your goals (but not with pizza and ice cream!) with healthy rewards, such as treating yourself to a relaxing afternoon at a spa or a night at the movies with friends.

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