Month: July 2011

3 Ways to Stay Happy & Healthy When Injury Strikes

Full disclosure: I am incredibly frustrated right now; maybe even a little depressed.

I haven’t run in about two weeks and I’m not sure what’s going on with my foot. After playing mama bear on vacation and taking off after my 2-year-old who decided to dart off near traffic, something went wrong with my arch and I rest doesn’t seem to be doing the trick quite yet. Frustrating.

If you’re an athlete or a runner, odds are good you’ve struggled with some sort of injury. Shin splints. IT band issues. Knee problems. Plantar fascitis. Arch issues.

While the sheer frustration might be enough for us to feel overwhelmed and moody, there are a lot of other keys we may not factor in that can lead us to feeling extra snappy and impatient.

Here’s what you’re likely missing during injury time:

  1. Mood-Boosting Endorphins. Many long-distance runners are known for their “type A” personalities. You know, it’s “all or nothing.” When you’re unable to run, you could find yourself moping and unmotivated to try anything else. You’re mourning the loss. Result? Those happy hormones, endorphins, that you’re used to experiencing aren’t being produced at their normal rate. You could be feeling sad, lethargic or angry.
    Solution: Get on a bike, try a video DVD, join a group class and vary up your cross training as long as it doesn’t aggravate the injury. Still aim for 30 minutes a day. Just do something (even if it’s not your beloved running.)
  2. Vitamin D. Let’s face it: not all of us can tolerate running on a treadmill in our house or at the gym. For.any.length.of.time. So, we hit the pavement and soak in a little bit of sunshine while we’re at it. If you’re going out for a 20-30 minute run without sunscreen, then your skin is likely producing your daily intake of immune-boosting (and mood-boosting) Vitamin D. (Always be sure to wear it on your face and if you’re going to be out for longer than 30 minutes–try a mineral sunscreen, which doesn’t have harmful oxybenzones.) The average person needs 1,000 IU of the vitamin daily, but most of us are stuck inside offices and buildings during the day.
    Solution: Grab a Vitamin D supplement at your local health food store can help stave off colds and keep those blues away. Just make sure you get 1,000 IU daily–I take Ageless Actives by Isagenix, which also includes heart-healthy and cell replenishing CoQ10 and Resveratrol.
  3. Time to Yourself. I don’t know a single person who doesn’t enjoy the bit of time they have to themselves when they go out for a run. Clearing your head or simply having time to process is key to your own mental health sometimes, especially when you have a busy life.
    Solution: Do something by yourself every day or every two days. Pick up a few yoga classes, go for walks with the dog; anything that will help you recover from the rest of the stress in your life.

As much as anyone else, these tips are definitely for me right now. Life is crazy and in a world filled with lots of unhealthy choices for coping with the unexpected, it’s tough when your healthiest choice is stuck on the back burner for goodness knows how long. Just hang in there, try to enjoy a little time off and embrace the opportunity to try something new. :)