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Lifestyle: How Should an Injured Athlete Recover?

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By John Torgerson

An injury is an unfortunate incident in the life of an athlete.

It is a difficult phase, but must be faced with a positive attitude. Denying and living under stress can prolong the recovery period. Acceptance is important to kick off the rehabilitation process because there is nothing that cannot be achieved with determination and enthusiasm, no matter how grave the injury is.

For an injured athlete, the road to recovery can be made easier and quicker by picking up the following:

  • Right Nutrition & Supplementation
  • and Rehab


An injured body needs energy in the form of nutrients to build back what is lost and that can  come only from eating the right kind of foods.


Protein is the building block, don’t ignore it. On an average, 1 g of protein per pound of body weight should be consumed. Ideally, 1.5-2.0 g/kg regularly. Every meal should have protein-rich foods: lean meat, eggs, lean dairy or protein supplements.


Omega 3 fats and omega 6 fats must be consumed in the ratio of 3:1. Good fats like mixed nuts, fatty fish, avocados, olive oil, flax seeds are recommended.


You need glucose, but in a quantity so as not to disturb the insulin levels. Any increase in the latter can disturb the healing process. Additional carbohydrates from high fiber foods like whole wheat, beans, whole grain, sweet potatoes, legumes, yam, quinoa, rice, etc. can also be taken.

An injured athlete should eat frequently at an interval of 3-4 hours along with 1-2 servings of fruits or veggies.

Some injuries are an outcome of not eating enough, such as stress fractures and ligamentous injury, but largely its not. So, while you are paying attention to the nutrition, do not lose sight of the calories. Keep an eye on what you are eating and how much.

Your calorie needs increase when you are recovering. It can be anywhere between 15 and 50 percent. A minor injury can increase the metabolic rate by 15-20%, whereas a major injury may increase it by 50%. An athlete should allow a nutritionist to keep a check on the amount of calories consumed so as to maintain a balance between increased energy needs and nutrition.

Rest and Rehabilitation

It is yet another thing that must be taken seriously. One may ask how much of it is enough.

Well, resting too much can lead to loss of muscle and tone. But that doesn’t take away its importance in healing the injury. It depends on the type of injury you have suffered. For instance, a sprain doesn’t need much time to heal. Unfortunately, a lot of professional athletes ignore it and magnify the problem they have suffered. It is important to rest at an optimum depending on the injury amassed.

Along with rest, rehab is also important.

The aim of a rehabilitation program is to restore muscular strength, endurance, flexibility and balance with sport specific exercises. These should be performed under the guidance of a professional. The exercises may differ from sport to sport. They should be started as early as possible to avert any loss of muscle and tone, barring a few exceptions like achilles and patella tendon injuries.

Make the most of the rehab program, it is the ultimate in treating pain and coming to normal function.

Hygiene is another facet extremely essential in healing. Keep the injured part covered so as not to contact any infection. Even post recovery, products that promote hygiene should be used. Defense shower gel aids in averting infection and maintains the form and function of an athletes’ skin.

The bottom line…

The road to recovery can be difficult for some, but isn’t that cannot be traveled. Just don’t lose your fighting spirit.

Author Bio: John Torgerson is a fitness coach and health writer. He advocates promoting personal hygiene among athletes, besides this, he contributes for various online health publications that mainly cover health guides, fitness, and yoga.

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Robert D. Cobb
Founder, Publisher and CEO of INSCMagazine. Works have appeared and featured in places such as Forbes, Huffington Post, ESPN and NBC Sports to name a few. Follow me on Twitter at @RobCobb_INSC, email me at [email protected]