Why Injuries Happen and How to Prevent Them
In this blog post I'll attempt to answer the question "Why do we get injured?"
Then, based on my own experiences as an athlete, I'll give advice on how to prevent them.
** Note: This post is by no means exhaustive, conclusive or scientific, it's an anecdotal piece meant to evoke reflection and contemplation on your own experience with injuries.
There are always going to be infinite causes and chains of events that lead up to an injury, that's the nature of reality, but in general I think there are a few tell tale signs that should set off alarm bells that an injury is imminent.
1. State of mind.
Are you frustrated? Are you angry? Are you resentful of how life is showing up for you right now? If any of these feelings or thoughts are starting to become a constant way of being for you, be very, very careful. It can't be overstated how important your mental game is in regards to your physical health. Many things can start to go wrong when you get attached to negative thought patterns: you lose focus on the moment, you become hostile toward yourself, you become hostile to the people around you. All these things will quickly put you in harms way, whether it's muscular tightening, over committing yourself to a certain movement or blatantly acting reckless.
The tricky and subconscious piece to this, is that you'll have to accept that you are manifesting the exact things that your mind wants your body to experience. They mirror each other. After an injury occurs it may be worth looking back at your experience leading up to that injury to try and uncover any hidden emotions directed at yourself or others. It's easy to blame others, or outside factors for injuries, but one of the most valuable things you can do is take responsibility for the ways you contributed to the creation of your injury.
If you want to live a healthy life, if you want to grow stronger, live longer, and feel better; than your environment is everything. This includes the people you spend time with, your workplace, your home, your transportation, the society you live in, the planet, and the clothes you wear.
Even with a perfectly focused and positive mind, it will be extremely difficult to overcome any toxic environmental factors that you expose yourself to.
Many times we choose to ignore things in our life causing us harm instead of taking responsibility to make the changes necessary. Sometimes the changes are so big, so life altering we fear even letting them into our consciousness. The first step is to realize that you can change. Life itself is change, and if you can imagine a new future then you can attain it.
3. Pushing Too Hard (Over Repetition)
On our way towards a physical goal we may become impatient. This impatience can cause over-training. Sometimes it may be difficult to distinguish when to push yourself and when to back off. In these moments, it can be helpful to look deeply at your own motivations. I find that selfish egotistical motivations will often lead to an unhealthy over-exertion, with a lack of presence. When I'm motivated by love for others and myself I find that I can stay present and push that edge without risking my bodies long term health. This distinction is not always obvious and this is one aspect of my training that I'm still struggling to master.
A practical solution to this is cross-training. Adding different activities to your routine can release blocked up energy and give you creativity to attack your problems in new ways. But the same rules apply, cross training can easily become another outlet for over-exerting yourself. Be wary.
4. Nutrition & Lack of Rest
You are what you eat. It's been said before, but it's just so true. For this one, I'd simply recommend that you pay attention to your body. What kind of foods make you feel good, energetic and happy? Try being a scientist of your own body and digestion. Test new combinations of food, different quantities and timings and try fasting. Your digestive system is like any system, it can benefit from a break, a reboot/restart.
5. Wrong Equipment
Your shoes may be the most important piece of equipment you use, but everything from your hat, to your shirt, to your socks can have an impact on your performance.
When it comes to footwear, it's worth noting, that your feet are the base of your power. All your movements propagate up from your feet (unless you're a swimmer) and therefore what you put underneath your feet can have an impact on the rest of your body.
Ideally you want footwear that works with the natural bio-mechanics of your feet. Shoes that don't restrict any natural flexing, rotation or engagement. Depending on the sport and the environment these guidelines can be modified to suit your purpose. The important piece is that you remember your feet. They are your connection with ground, they can send valuable information to your brain that could be the difference maker between injury and health. Don't discount them.
In the End
Injuries are a part of life. There's no surefire way to eliminate injuries and often times injuries can communicate to us what we refuse to see or feel. That being said, I hope the list above can help you live a healthier life and help you make decisions that bring you happiness.
I hope you all have an injury free 2018 :)