Happy 2017 to you all!
It has been awhile since I've blogged as I have been busy traveling, moving, and holidaying...reinvigorating myself with more balance has been a fortunate path. However, I also suffered a minor injury a couple of months ago while completing a 14 mile run. I strained my hamstring on the 13th mile. I say minor injury, BUT it was significant enough that I needed to give my body a break. Now I don't know about you, but I have a very hard time taking time off from physical activity. The luckily very few times I have been injured I am always reminded about how much I actually do use my body. For example, doing my work, even when I am simply stretching a client forces me to use this injured hamstring of mine. It is amazing how tiny movements can feel major when you are not 100 percent YOU in your body. I am humbled by this, and if not for my boyfriend and a couple of close friends reminding me to take it easy, I would probably overdo it and set myself back, prolonging my recovery. Yep, I hate to admit that, but it's true! I guess I am writing this blog today to speak out to you other type A personalities. Those of you who also identify with Monica on "Friends" who have trouble taking time to mend. I always tell my clients to be kind to themselves and give themselves a break...I suppose I should practice what I preach for a change!
I know that I strained my hamstring, so I am going to tell you what I have been doing to help expedite my recovery these past couple of months. First: STAY OFF OF IT. Yes, this is difficult, but rest is rest. Doing nothing is a good idea for now. Second: ALTERNATE ICE AND HEAT. Icing is great for inflammation, but you should not stretch your body cold so heating it up before GENTLY stretching is a good idea. I have also found that getting into the hot tub does wonders for relaxation of my muscles. Third: ANTI INFLAMMATORY CREAMS/OILS. I am a big believer in natural products, so I generally use Arnica cream, massaging it into the affected area as well .... my sister in law also swears by a combo of castor oil and frankinscense. Fourth: HYDRATION AND SLEEP. Sounds easy, but proper amounts of sleep and drinking enough water is sometimes the best medicine. After a time, when you are feeling less pain and inflammation you can start to add activity back into your life. EVERY BODY IS DIFFERENT, so you are going to have to really listen to your body and let it guide you. Here's what I did, for example as I began to heal:
GENTLE YOGA STRETCHING: This is great, BUT you must use caution when getting into some of those warrior poses. I used my breath as a guide and did not go into my full range of flexibility right away. Next: ADD YOU ACTIVITY BACK SLOWLY. Mine is running, so I ran a little AND I walked a little. As soon as I felt any sort of twinge, I walked and I started with 1 mile alternating run/walking and after a week added 2 miles with less walking, more running. Graudually, I added 3 miles, then 4...On Sunday, I ran the hills at the top of Topanga for the first time in nearly 2 months! I am gaining strength again.
Finally: STRENGTH TRAINING EXERCISES FOR YOUR INJURY. I performed these exercises with very low reps and without any weights to strengthen up the muscles surrounding my injury to keep them as strong as possible. Now this step should be done with an exercise professional. I will illustrate what I did for my hamstring strain in a video next week. I even sought the help of my Occupational Therapist friend who discovered a lot of tightness in my psoas muscle that was pulling on my hip and knee, and as a result weakened my hamstring tendons so that the strain could occur.
REMEMBER: Be patient and mindful with yourself. I am telling ME this as much as I am telling YOU this...some of us are much better at helping others than helping ourselves, but we must try to have a balance of both. After all, treating yourself well frees you up to treat others with even more care because you strengthened yourself enough to give that much more to another being. DON'T FORGET, eating well helps too!
NUTRITION TIP OF THE WEEK:
TURMERIC is a wonderful aid for injury as it has natural anti inflammatory properties. I am putting it in eveything for now! Here is a great way to mask the taste a bit too as it is not the most pleasant: Add it to your kale and banana smoothie.
Happy mindful, playful living,