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Turning Injury Into Fitness Opportunity – 4-Step Approach

Written by: Misti Dawn White, Executive Contributor

Executive Contributors at Brainz Magazine are handpicked and invited to contribute because of their knowledge and valuable insight within their area of expertise.

Executive Contributor Misti Dawn White

When you are lean and fit a trip to the grocery store means a comment on your physique. The question is always, “What do you do?”

Woman taking a dive at swimming pool

My answer is always the same: “It is not what I did this week or even this year. My physique is a side effect of me choosing health and fitness consistently for the last twenty years. I started and have never stopped.” The response I typically hear includes all of the “reasons” why they do not look and feel as healthy as they desire. One common mention is physical injuries they have had. They also mention pregnancies or surgeries which led them to quitting their fitness routine. But the best piece of advice I can give is to never fall off the health and fitness track. I've developed a four-step strategy for handling injuries every time they occur. This approach to injuries will help keep you vibrant and hopeful during recovery while keeping you in tip-top shape for the rest of your life! Have you ever noticed the fact that children demonstrate much more resilience when faced with injuries than adults do? Kids are optimistic and tend to adapt to change in all areas of life with less effort than adults. When we are little we just want to play and we don’t let much get in our way. We bounce back fast from the trauma that occurred a moment before the present one. Thus the acronym AKID to help you recall the steps to take when you become injured! Just remember to be like “a kid!” “A” stands for acceptance. First, acknowledge and accept that injuries are a part of life. As stated in David Reagan’s article in Brainz magazine, “physical activity will undoubtedly result in some sort of pain, injury, fatigue, and wear-and-tear; it’s just all part of the business.” Understand that any physical activity can cause pain and injuries can develop even when you are not pushing your body in sport... Injuries are simply part of life. I see clients with tennis elbow who are in pain from sitting at a desk all day and others who actually play tennis. Whether you are pushing your limits in a fitness setting or sitting in an office chair all day you will feel pain in your body at some point. Second, accept the part of you who is downright annoyed from the pain in your body and being forced to drop your plans for your near future. Frustration and sadness are the most common mental side effects associated with having an injury. These emotions are heightened when you are training for a particular event. Some injuries can take six months to a year to heal, causing you to miss an entire season of training or a huge hike you’ve planned during a bucket list vacation. It is important to love this part of yourself that feels like a victim to the injury. “K” stands for knowledge. First off, you want to be knowledgeable about what grief is and how it is involved in your experiences with injuries. Grief is not limited to the loss of a loved one or meaningful relationship. Grief is also present when we go through any major life change that alters the path towards our cherished aspirations. It is important for you to understand that being injured can lead to grief-related symptoms such as lack of sleep, decreased or increased appetite, fatigue, difficulty concentrating, and depression. Allow these feelings to move through you and know that they will pass. Next, the knowledge you want to include in this process is how to care for your injury as well as knowing what the average recovery time will be. Ask professionals and do your research on best ways to heal quickly. These might include athletic tape, massage, ice, heat, mobility, and specific strengthening exercises. Knowing the average recovery time will help you to settle in and heal properly instead of trying to jump back into your activity too early and risking taking even longer to heal. “I’ stands for introspection and is the most fun letter in this process! This is where you thank your injury for allowing you the space and time to go deep into your desires to come up with new ways to spend your active time. For this step in the A.K.I.D process sit down and write about any and all activities you have ever wanted to try. What are all the active things you dreamt of doing when you were young? Also, take note of things you have seen people do on tv or online that you thought would be amazing. Do not hold back here. Be unrealistic! I have numerous examples of when I have moved through this process and come out with skills I thought were impossible before. Most recently, I was planning to enter an all-styles dance battle but I severely sprained my ankle during a water skiing accident. My ankle was going to take at least eight weeks to heal so I told myself I’d need three months before jumping around breakdancing again. Instead of dwelling in sadness, I took less than a week to pivot and plan my next physical challenge. I wrote down all that I have ever wanted to do. My list included tumbling, kickboxing, latin ballroom dancing, pole dancing, and a few other activities. From there, I narrowed down the activities to ones that would not hurt my ankle. Pole dancing was my best option but I did not want to have to put up a pole in the middle of my dance space and I was worried that I might fall down and roll my ankle. I recalled seeing a friends train with something called a Swedish ladder. The movements here were very slow and controlled and looked like ones that didn’t pose a threat to my injury. I decided to purchase a ladder and get to work immediately. This activity has brought me more joy than a dance battle! I'm now mastering moves I never dreamed of at over forty years old. You can move through this process and become even more powerful than before your injury as well! The last step in the AKID framework is Discipline. You maintain the discipline to care for your injury, to be kind to your grieving part, to focus on the positives, and move forward with your new goals. You now have the habit of never quitting and always focusing on where you have the opportunity to become stronger and more skilled. Be disciplined at choosing optimism and excitement! You may have been an elite athlete in your prior sport and a beginner at the new goal; nevertheless, you must put in the daily work to get better and stay in the fitness game. At the beginning of my journey with the Swedish ladder, I could only hold my poses for one second at a time and I would get so sore that I had to take the next five days off! But I believed in myself and I knew that if other humans could do it then so could I! With the discipline to stay on the new path, I not only experienced physical benefits from learning a new skill but also deeper positive side effects. I noticed myself to feel less stressed overall, more confident, and more focused. I had enhanced self-control, greater purpose, and an overall healthier emotional well-being. These types of gains should have you feeling passionate about trying something new and sticking to it, whether you are injured or not!

Injuries are a stumbling block in your health journey, but they do not mean that you should give up on your fitness progress. Even after numerous devastating injuries, two pregnancies, one major surgery, and other traumatic life events, I have continued along my health and fitness path because of my acceptance, knowledge, introspection, and discipline. I love to behave like a kid! I’d rather be on the playground with my arm in a cast than be sitting on the sidelines. Making the most of every day, no matter what obstacles our higher power throws our way, is our duty. If you choose to practice the A.K.I.D approach to injuries I promise you will look and feel more youthful, enthusiastic, and leaner, no matter what age you are and limitations have been placed on you!

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Misti Dawn White Brainz Magazine

Misti Dawn White, Executive Contributor Brainz Magazine

Misti Dawn White, a transformational expert, uses physical intelligence, mental resilience, and compassion to guide others. With over 20 years of experience, she helps individuals turn challenges into opportunities. As a gym owner, coach, breakdance instructor, licensed massage therapist, and author, Misti's holistic approach has cultivated a strong and loyal community. Her journey from adversity to resilience, or what she likes to call shattered to shredded, inspires a broad audience, showcasing her remarkable transformation.


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