How to Know When To Sit Out
At times, I can be a stubborn person.
I’m most stubborn when it comes to getting injured. The only times I go to the doctor are for annual physicals because a) I don’t normally get sick (knock on wood) and b) when I do, I usually just wait it out and let my body attack itself because somehow I’ve convinced myself that that will make me into a superhero.
I mentioned in this post that I hurt my foot. This weekend, while working with Donut at her puppy training graduation (yay!), I scooped her up to carry her out of the way — something I’ve done a thousand times — and suddenly I felt a sharp pain in my upper back and an inability to breathe in deeply.
If you’ve been reading for awhile, you know that last year I hurt my back pretty significantly and I was out of commission for a month. Luckily, this was in a slightly different place than that was, but I still knew the signs of something going on and put her down immediately. That, coupled with what’s been happening with my foot, made up my mind that I would likely be skipping a number of workouts this coming week.
It takes me awhile to come around to something that should be common sense. The friends I work out with all told me I needed to make an appointment for my foot and I told Neil to make me go because I have a hard time making that decision for myself. It’s a work in progress.
The funny thing is that I can sit on something for weeks, but the moment I decide I want answers, I want them RIGHT NOW. I did call to make an appointment for my foot, asking if they had any openings that afternoon. As nicely as she could, the receptionist refrained from laughing and told me there wasn’t an opening until four days later.
So I’m scheduled for tomorrow, at which point I hope my back will have also calmed down. There’s a high probability I may have to wear a boot and I’m not sure what they will tell me about exercise, but I’m trying to keep an open mind and do what’s best for my body despite the toll it make take on my brain. Exercise is a mental and emotional release for me, but the physical needs to be in place first.
Here are some signs that it might be a good idea to just sit back and rest. Keep in mind I’m not a doctor, so this is all based on my own injury history and common sense. 🙂
You’re not feeling better
Let’s use my foot as an example. I noticed it starting to feel injured at the very beginning of August, but decided to keep exercising on it because I don’t like to be sidelined. It was painful, but I felt like I could still do almost every movement if I just altered my gait or pushed through it. My foot would inevitably feel worse afterwards and often feel swollen, but I cold still walk so I tried to ignore it.
It’s now been about three weeks and after that amount of time, I had to stop and ask myself what I was going to do next. Yes, it sucks not being able to do something I enjoy, but it sucks much more to be taken out for longer if the injury gets worse.
You don’t enjoy exercise as much
It’s great to go to a workout with no worries except how hard you can work and how great you can feel afterwards. If something is bothering you, however, it can start to wear you down. How am I going to modify this workout? Will I injure myself further? How long can I push this pain?
Whenever I’ve been injured or on the brink of injury, I find myself feeling less excited about exercise. That, coupled with wondering how much longer I can keep pushing something without rest, often puts me in an emotional state where I realize it’s more important to just take a break, let things heal, and get back to why I love working out in the first place.
You’ve been injured in the same place before
Anytime I feel something happening with my back, I’m immediately more cautious of it. Last year I ignored it and wound up in recovery for a month. No working out and lots of visits to the sports injury doctor comprised part of my summer. I was still coaching classes and it really bummed me out to watch others working out while I couldn’t.
I know how long that recovery was, so if I notice something off around that area, I try to be extra careful with it and not push myself as hard or take a break altogether. Having a previous injury makes that area more susceptible to future injuries, so make sure to take caution with those spots.
Everyone else thinks you need to see a doctor
I initially told my friends that I was going to continue to work out on my foot and since many of them are die hard exercisers, I figured I would get someone to co-sign my decision. Instead, every one of them told me that I needed to make an appointment to get it looked at. It seems like I’m the only poor decision maker in the group.
If a majority of your friends and/or family think it’s a good decision for you to see a doctor, they’re probably right.
I’ll keep you updated as I get answers. Make sure to take care of yourself today!