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Saturday, November 17 , 2018, 9:41 am | Mostly Cloudy with Haze 62º


Traver Boehm: Don’t Let an Injury Sideline Your Training

Depending on the injury, continuing with a modified workout will help with healing

The holiday season presents us with myriad reasons to slow our training down or stop it all together. We’re busy, we’re buying presents, we’ve got family in town — you name it, and it will come up in the next six weeks. Losing training momentum is a slippery slope, especially this time of year when the idea of restarting our lives on Jan. 1 is so appealing.

Another major impetus to training success is injuries. Injuries happen in all levels of sports from the recreational kickball game (rumor has it that these games are actually some of Santa Barbara’s most dangerous!) all the way up through the professional ranks.

Dealing with injuries is something that every athlete is going to have to contend with — it’s a fact, so don’t throw the baby out with the New Year’s bathwater and completely derail your training regimen just because something is hurt.

Anyone who’s seen the classic football movie The Program remembers the scene where Omar Epps’ character lies on the field after a big hit and his head coach asks him, “Are you hurt or are you injured?”

This is a big distinction for an athlete to make as well. The classic prescription of Rest, Ice, Compression and Elevation works well for both pain and injuries, but is far more effective at relieving pain than it is at healing an injury.

If you’re injured — if you’ve broken a bone, torn a ligament or otherwise done enough damage to your body to send you to a specialist or M.D. — then rest is going to be your first line of defense.

With a real injury, one that takes weeks to months to heal, giving your body a week or two to use all of its energy on healing is paramount. Even if you feel like working out, giving your body a chance to play a little bit of catch up will be in your favor, so rest!

What happens if the injury isn’t that bad or you’ve passed that critical first week or so?

Well, now it’s time to get back in the game albeit in a different fashion. Let’s say, for example, that your knee has been bothering you but nothing is torn or broken. After starting a regimen of ice and heat, it’s time to start training again.

Do I recommend that your training consist of long runs or stair sprints at SBCC? Not exactly. However, using the other parts of your body, doing upper body work, abdominal work, push-ups, sit-ups, pull-ups, seated presses, etc., will do wonders not only toward healing your injury, but even more importantly for your mental well-being as well.

Movement or the act of getting off your couch and forcing your body to do what it was designed to do sets in motion a whole cascade of physical positivity both mentally and physically. The increased blood flow from exercise will inevitably bring freshly oxygenated blood to your area of pain. With that freshly oxygenated blood comes white blood cells and the removal of trapped lymph fluid and lactic acid. Studies have shown that people who continue to exercise (intelligently) will heal faster than those who don’t.

I’ve been fortunate to have a lifetime of great coaches, and many of the best have allowed me to take time off when I was injured. The caveat? My time off had to be spent on the sideline of the mat or pool watching my teammates train. There’s nothing in the world that will motivate an athlete to heal up and get him or herself back in the game than having to watch fellow athletes workout.

If you’re dealing with a specific injury that simply won’t heal, shoot me an email at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) and I’ll be happy to brainstorm some strategies with you. If not, keep training hard and taking care of yourself.

Have at it.

— Traver Boehm is co-owner and coach at Crossfit Pacific Coast, has a master’s degree in Chinese medicine, is a licensed acupuncturist at Alki Wellness, and a nutrition specialist. He can be contacted at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

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