Editor’s Note: This is a continuation from Part 1 of BlackBeltMag.com’s guide to overcoming martial athletic injuries. For more information on this topic, consult the co-authors’ full-color book: Stay in the Fight: A Martial Athlete’s Guide to Preventing and Overcoming Injury.
Think Holistic When Considering Treatment of Martial Athletic Injuries
To optimize healing and your state of mind during recovery from martial athletic injuries, you must address as many components of health and wellness as possible. The six primary components are the following:
- Strength: Ask your doctor when and how you can lift weights or do resistance exercises.
- Cardiovascular health: Also ask to what degree you can maintain your endurance level.
- Flexibility: The inactivity often associated with recovery from martial athletic injuries doesn’t always have to result in a loss of flexibility. In fact, you may find that you now have time to focus on it.
- Nutrition: Your body has been traumatized by an injury and requires top-notch nutrition to rebuild. The best diet is complete in terms of proteins, carbohydrates and fats, as well as vitamins, minerals and trace elements. Take time to study what you need and then consume it.
- Hydration: Every athlete knows the importance of water in a workout, so don’t let inactivity result in dehydration. Keep the water flowing.
- Rest: The best healing and the best attitude require the best rest. During your recuperation time, you may discover that a sufficient amount of deep, undisturbed sleep will not only heal your body more quickly but also refresh your mind.
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Adopt a Positive Mental Attitude Toward Your Martial Athletic Injuries
The ultimate goal is to experience the opposite of depression — and that’s a positive mental attitude. Having such an attitude about your health — knowing that you’re being proactive in the process and exercising some control over it — will help you feel better and heal faster from your martial athletic injuries.
If you’re fired up about your therapy or your training-around-the-injury workout, you’re more likely to do the work that’s required to recover from martial athletic injuries.
So acquire the necessary tools: motivational books, tapes, magazines, videos, buddies or whatever works for you. Then intentionally build your positive mental attitude. Like a muscle, your attitude will respond to such exercise by growing stronger.
Voice Your Attitude
Words are powerful mental programs, so take care to be positive in all that you say.
When you talk about your martial athletic injuries or recuperation therefrom, intentionally speak in positive terms. You need to hear yourself talk about the gains you’ve made and how much worse it could have been. Be attentive to that little voice inside your head and make it a source of optimism. If you convince your mind that you’re healing, your body will believe it and act accordingly.
Don’t Obsess Over Your Martial Athletic Injuries
Is there more to you than your injury? Is there more to life than your athletic endeavors?
Of course there is! So embrace those aspects while you recuperate.
If you catch yourself always thinking or talking about your martial athletic injuries, your healing, your goals — in short, yourself — stop it! Nobody likes a self-absorbed person, not even you. You may find that your downtime gives you an opportunity to focus on others and be productive in different areas.
Tell Your Doctor
Be sure you talk to your health-care professional about your state of mind in addition to the state of your body. He can’t help with your overall health unless he knows your overall condition. Don’t let continued or chronic depression related to your martial athletic injuries go unaddressed.
Laugh Yourself Happy
What makes you laugh? Is it movies, TV shows, books, comics or friends? Well, get what tickles you and enjoy. A good dose of laughter not only lifts your mood but also releases those mood-elevating chemicals you get from a workout. Laughter really is good medicine.
Celebrate Small Victories in Your Recovery From Martial Athletic Injuries
Is it your first step since your injury — literally, your first step? Then throw a party!
Did you just complete your first lap in the rehab pool? Rejoice!
Are you finished with your first round of medicine? Reward yourself!
Find a way to mark your progress so it builds a positive mental attitude and makes your life more fun.
You’re getting better, so be glad!
Remember that while you’re an injured athlete, you’re still an athlete. Moreover, there will always be more to you than just your athletic ability. So stay positive, stay busy, take control and take heart.
Fight against depression the same way you’ve fought against other opponents — with the courage of a warrior and the heart of a champion!
About the Authors:
Danny Dring — owner/operator of Living Defense Martial Arts and a seventh-degree black belt who holds dan ranking in five martial arts — and Johnny D. Taylor — a second-degree black belt under Dring — are co-authors of the book Stay in the Fight: A Martial Athlete’s Guide to Preventing and Overcoming Injury. Over the course of their martial arts careers, they’ve faced overwhelming odds to recover, maintain and live out the high expectations of a modern-day athlete. Stay in the Fight: A Martial Athlete’s Guide to Preventing and Overcoming Injury is their big-picture guide to martial artists and athletes who are facing or have faced those daunting obstacles, offering a holistic discussion on how to achieve and maintain optimal wellness through a variety of mental, physical and emotional means.