Updated: Mar 28, 2021
Oftentimes, when I ask a client what they’ve been doing for movement in their life, I get an answer that goes something like “well...I used to run, bike, etc., then I hurt my knee, so I just stopped.”
Or maybe it wasn’t the knee, but Plantar Fasciitis that was stopping them from walking, or a shoulder injury that hurt when they lifted overhead. This story is all too common, and unfortunately, sets us up on a potential path of inactivity and re-injury. So what can we do about it?
We live in a very “it’s broken, so let’s fix it” society when it comes to injuries. All the emphasis coming from experts tends to revolve around “fixing” the broken or injured part.
My question though is “what are we doing with the rest of the body while we’re working on or resting or rehabbing the injured parts?”
A while back, a client of mine had surgery in her neck area. After her surgery, she mentioned to me all about what her doctor had told her “not to do.” Don’t lift anything heavy” he said, “don’t do any squats,” “don’t put your head below your knees,” don’t, don’t, don’t.
My client then looked at him and asked, “so...what CAN I do?” The doctor just stared at her. That was obviously a question he hadn’t been used to answering. “Well, I don’t know,’ he said? “No one’s ever asked me that before.”
Fortunately for my client, we had already been working on and focusing on what she “could do,” and I knew how to help her. What if that wasn’t the case though? As this is the more common scenario for most people.
When we put the emphasis on what we can’t do, we feel broken, unmotivated, and less capable. When we think about what we can do, we feel empowered, optimistic, and in control.
Just because we have a knee injury doesn’t mean that we can’t swim, or box, or lift weights with our upper body. Just because we have a shoulder injury doesn’t mean we can’t run, walk, squat, or lunge.
And who knows, maybe continuing to stay active during recovery just might help us to recover faster and feel more positive about our outcomes?!
So next time you find yourself thinking “I can’t do anything because of x, y, or z,” ask yourself instead “What CAN I do??”