For active people, being injured can be torturous. One minute you have your entire day planned around your exercise and fitness routines. The next minute you’re stuck on a couch without anything productive to do. Unfortunately, injury is a part of life. To get you back on your feet as soon as possible, here are some tips to speed up your recovery process.

  1. Elevation

For the recovery process to begin, you need adequate blood flow through your injured area. This means reducing inflammation and swelling. To help with this, raise your injury a few inches above your heart level. You should notice the swelling reduce within a few minutes.

  1. Hot Cold Immersion

Icing your injury is another way to reduce swelling. To take this to the next level, try administering a hold-cold contrast therapy session. This involves submerging in cold water, then switching to hot water. For every ten minutes in cold, give yourself three minutes in hot.

There are ways to MacGyver this situation if you don’t have access to your own temperature-controlled pools.

  • Your gym – Your gym probably has a sauna attached to the showers. You can use this as your “hot water” submersion.
  • Your local pool – While the pool itself won’t be cold enough, the showers might be. Use this for your cold water and the jacuzzi for hot water.
  • At home – Use your shower to go from cold to hot. While this isn’t the best solution, it’s better than nothing.
  1. Massage it Out

Getting a massage can reduce tension, make you less prone to injury, and aid in the recovery process. For serious injuries, speak with a physical therapist about scheduling massages. If you want to take their regimen to your local masseuse, ask them how much pain is okay for your injury. Certain injuries require a hands-off approach where any pain is harmful. Others have more wiggle room and can take the additional heat.

  1. Eat Healthy and Plenty

Often, people think that injuries mean it’s time to diet and cut back on calories. However, this is the time when your body needs energy most. Recovering from an injury means the body is in constant motion, repairing, reducing inflammation, and helping you regain your normal strength. For all this protein and muscle reconstruction, your body needs energy. The problem is, most people don’t eat the right energy.

Now more than ever is the time to focus on eating healthy. Much in the same way ice can reduce swelling from the outside, eating fruits and vegetables packed with vitamins can reduce inflammation from the inside. In fact, eating healthy foods can reduce swelling significantly faster than any external source. To cut away from the saturated and trans fats, use these tips.

  • No processed foods
  • Cut back on meats like pork, poultry, and beef
  • Reduce the oil you use in cooking
  • Double down on fruits and vegetables

For additional protection, seek out muscle recovery supplements. These will keep your body fully equipped to rebuild and recuperate.

  1. Allow Yourself to Heal

The only way to heal an injury is to actually let it heal. This may sound repetitive, but most people will return to their normal habits far too early. Once they stop experiencing pain, they’ll return to the gym for a heavy make-up workout. This can cause re-injury and even permanent damage. It’s better to take your time and allow yourself to heal.

  • Rest as much as possible – A watched pot never boils. Instead of focusing on your injury, relax and sleep as much as possible. Allow yourself to have this much-needed break.
  • Gentle range of motion exercises – Once the inflammation has settled down, one of the best things you can do for your body is gentle flexion of the injury. Ease into it slowly. Use the yoga mindset and allow your breath to push and pull your muscles. The last thing you want to do is re-injure yourself and be stuck on the couch for another week.
  • Exercise non-injured parts – If your shoulder is injured, you don’t have to abstain from all physical exercise. Hop on the treadmill for a few light miles or take the time to explore the neighborhood. Don’t do anything that will inflame your injury, though. If the constant rotation of your arms while you run harms your shoulder, stick to walking. Use common sense when appropriate.

While You’re Injured

Since you probably have some free time, take a moment to learn about your injury. If you’ve never dealt with a sprained knee before, research knee anatomy. Being able to identify all the different muscles, tendons, and bones can assist you when it’s time to explain your injury or heal it. It will also make you less likely to re-injure it in the future.