I will often get a client who comes to me with an injury of some kind and will ask when they can get back to exercising. Years ago if you had back ache, the advice was to lie down and rest for a few days. Now the advice is the opposite, get up and move around. This week I had a client, a competitive cyclist, with really sore legs– sore because he exercised 6 days a week. I just told him to do some other kind of exercise and do less of it. The body does need to rest sometimes. His poor legs were crying out for rest but he kept working away on them. Yes, they were strong, but he was in constant pain so what’s the point of that?
I do believe in the healing power of rest but I also think keeping well exercised after an injury is also important. If you look at the injury history of Geraint Thomas –innumerable crashes that in 2005 led to a ruptured spleen, in 2013 to a fractured pelvis, in 2017 a dislocated shoulder and later, a broken collarbone – it’s clear that he took to extremes the advice that if you fall off your bike, the best thing to do is to get back on again. It worked big time. Despite all these injuries Thomas triumphed this year by winning the Tour de France. Exhilarating and an inspiration to us all.
Very often athletes can still achieve great things despite injuries that would knock most of us out. It’s our old friend the power of the mind. Sometimes though we have to learn to accept that even this isn’t enough. I wrote a blog last year about Andy Murray’s hip. I predicted he would never reach a final or semi-final again. Today as I write he is ranked 382 in the world. Even for such a fiercely competitive player, overcoming this hip injury is almost certainly beyond him. I would though, love him to prove me wrong.