Injury is a fact of life for us, whether we’re high-level athletes or doing casual workouts and regardless of the sport. It’s inevitable that if you’re using your body the way you are supposed to be it’ll get banged up in the process. Here are some ways to make the most of your recovery when you’re injured and to avoid the pitfalls that plague a lot of athletes on the road to wellness.

Set realistic goals. Recovery is a process. Healing takes time. It’s easy to be impatient and rush the process but there are limitations of matter and your body will heal at a different rate than someone else’s. Doctors usually give conservative estimates but you need to follow their advice and rehab from your injury using the methods and timeline suggested to you. Rushing things will only cause new problems or set your recovery back substantially.

Use your time to hone new skills. One of the athletes in our CrossFit box broke her ankle. Rather than taking a couple months off she worked on upper body stuff. She was there everyday working on upper body strength and other skills that she could do without putting more stress on her ankle and when she recovered she was stronger than ever. There are few injuries that you can’t work around in much the same way, so don’t use an injury as an excuse to be lazy, as tempting as it is!

Continue to live a healthy lifestyle. Even if you are banged up and injured, you can always still eat and sleep right. It’s tempting to take a break from training when you’re injured, and sometimes that’s necessary, but it’s all too often accompanied by donut AMRAPS and staying up late binging on Netflix, too! If nothing else, sticking to your nutrition and sleep/stress habits will keep you primed for when you do return to training and it’ll keep up your good habits while you recover. If you completely fall apart in all aspects, the road to recovery is a lot longer!

Being injured or recovering from surgery suck, but it’s a part of life for most people at some point. Setting realistic goals, staying active around the injury and continuing good lifestyle habits that are already in place will help speed your recovery and keep your mind in the game even if your body is sidelined. Above all else listen to your body and your doctors and be patient and you’ll be back to what you love doing with a healthy body and mind!