It’s inevitable – when participating in sport and physical activities that injuries will occur. Although injuries are unpredictable and unavoidable, there are things you can do to help your body recover in the best way possible. Let’s talk about some best practices to apply during injury recovery. Tweet This!
Many things occur following injuries including (but not limited to):
- inflammatory response
- limb immobilization
- decrease in physical activity.
The inflammatory process and immobilization often results in muscle loss due to inactivity and increased periods of negative muscle protein balance.
The majority of individuals who are injured, but are still physically active, use the R.I.C.E method and the occasional modality, which is a therapeutic method or agent, such as surgery, chemotherapy, or electrotherapy (involving physical treatment).
However, nutritional recovery is often overlooked and/or underappreciated. There is no question that poor nutrition will impede the post-injuring healing and recovery process. Tweet This!
Protein intake is especially important when it comes to tissue repair and atrophy. Sufficient protein intake has been known to aid in wound and fracture healing and decreasing inflammation, while also increasing muscle protein synthesis during periods of rest and following exercises.Leucine, a dietary amino acid, is known for increasing protein synthesis and supporting increased muscle mass. Tweet This!
Some injuries can cause decreased activity or even immobilization, which is a primary reason why serious attention should be given in regard to the amount of calories consumed during recovery (to avoid weight gain).
Muscle protein synthesis is an energetically expressive process, so insufficient fuel consumption could inhibit the muscle to synthesize proteins. Tweet This! This becomes a major contributor to muscle loss.
The most important factor is to avoid nutrient deficiencies. It’s a given that ample carbohydrate intake is important to athletes who are training, but it is perhaps even more crucial for an athlete who is recovering from an injury. Tweet This!
Athletes and any individual who is physically active should also consider fat intake during injury recovery. Research shows that there is an increase demand for essential fatty acids following an injury; most fatty acids associated with injury are omega-3 fatty acids (commonly found in fish), which have anti-inflammatory and immunomodulatory properties.
What’s the most important thing to remember during injury recovery?
The most important thing to remember after reading this article is to avoid malnutrition. During rehabilitation and injury recovery, energy needs will increase to the restoration of physical activity. Consuming a balanced diet with sufficient carbohydrate, protein, and micronutrients intake is a good rule of thumb.