I follow a blog by Eric Cressey, a very well respected trainer in this industry. A blog about resting injuries caught my eye, as I could relate to it very much. When someone has an injury of any degree they should go see a doctor, whether that be a general practitioner or an orthopedic specialist. In many cases, the response from the medical professional is just “rest”.
Now, I understand that whatever injury you have you must take care of it. If your knee is hurt, take care of your knee and rest your knee. If your shoulder is injured, take care of it, rehab it, and rest it, whatever needs to be done to get that body part healthy. I don’t think the word “rest” means to just do nothing and sit around all day!!
Cressey talked about how 64% of Americans are overweight or obese. Wow! We are telling injured people to do nothing and “just rest”? All to often I have heard this from clients, friends, or whoever, and yes, they do just that. They do nothing. SO, you have a bad knee? SO you will do no physical activity? Gain weight, lose energy, lose muscle tissue, and the list goes on. Yes, your knee will eventually get better, but if you become sedentary don’t expect to stay fit!
The benefits of exercise are well known. Improved mood, sleep, self-esteem, sex drive, bone density, muscle tissue, digestion, and more.Cressey’s statement,“I would rather have an achy back once in a while, then to be fat, no energy, low sex drive, and feel awful about myself I can take a little pain. I can’t take being unfit and in a bad mood.” says it all!
The cool thing is that you can still exercise with pain or injury in one area, and work around any and all pain and injuries by training the other parts of your body! I have trained people on crutches, in wheelchairs, with knee braces, you name it. I have a client that I train right now that is waiting to have major shoulder surgery in a month. But you know what? He doesn’t want to stop his progress. He wants to work the rest of his body safely so that he can stay fit, and feel good about himself. Not only that, since he is staying in shape he will have a much better recovery after his surgery.
Yes, there are times when you absolutely need total rest, such as a concussion. Always consult with a professional to determine the level of your injury to see if you really can exercise. But please, the next time you get an injury, think outside of the box for your next workout. We already have too many people that don’t move their bodies. We don’t need anymore.