When it comes to injury recovery, the most complex practices aren’t necessarily the most effective practices — despite the prevalence, on the internet and in the medical field, of claims to the contrary.
Admittedly, certain situations — and injuries — call for multifaceted efforts on the part of the sufferer and his or her doctor. But the reality is that those battling to return to form following an accident, as well as those who’re struggling with chronic pain, often stand to gain the most from adhering to a few simple yet effective tips.
You’ve probably heard of these behaviors before and for good reason! These oft-repeated tips that help you feel your best and expedite injury recoveries are scientifically proven to benefit the process and deliver results.
1. Stay Hydrated — and Keep in Mind That Water-Consumption Needs Vary
Hydration is a must if you wish to enjoy injury-recovery success and, more broadly, healthy living.
The advantages of hydration, from enhanced physical performance to optimal brain function and much more in between, go without saying. Undoubtedly, at one time or another, you’ve experienced the negative effects of dehydration, which, in the long term, can exacerbate existing health challenges and even create new ones.
In terms of injury recovery specifically, water is the body’s primary method of delivering integral oxygen and nutrients to trouble areas, especially the back and the spine. Coupled with inherently compromised cell function, dehydration has the potential to substantially delay your recovery.
You have much to gain (and virtually nothing to lose) by taking a few minutes per day to stay hydrated, regardless of the nature of your injury.
It also bears mentioning that the “eight-by-eight” recommendation, which calls for one to drink at least eight 8 oz. glasses of water per day, is overly general and often misleading. One’s water needs vary based upon weight, temperature, and other factors.
Instead, strive to consume half your body weight in ounces of water daily (25 ounces for every 50 pounds), and be sure to offset diuretics (like coffee, tea, and alcohol) with an equivalent amount of water.
2. Avoid Skimping on Sleep; Missing Even an Hour of Rest Slows Injury Recovery
As you’re probably aware, a good night’s sleep — usually seven to nine hours for adults and eight to ten hours for teens — delivers many positive health effects, including mental sharpness and improved metabolic performance, to name just a couple.
What you may not know, however, is that your nightly sleep (or lack thereof) correlates directly to your injury recovery.
In its most basic form, sleep is little more than an opportunity for the body to repair itself. But according to the National Sleep Foundation, America’s foremost sleep education and advocacy organization, tissue growth and repair arrive only during the third and fourth cycles of sleep — or after you’ve completed 70 percent of your nightly rest.
Bearing this information in mind, it’s imperative that injury sufferers make time for frequent, full nights of sleep. Occasionally missing just one hour of rest can dramatically inhibit your recovery, whereas uninterrupted slumber (in coordination with the other listed tips) will usher in encouraging results and progress.
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3. Maintain a Healthy Diet, with an Emphasis on Anti-Inflammatory Foods
Besides aiding your overall health and wellbeing, a nutritious diet — one that emphasizes anti-inflammatory foods and largely avoids saturated fats — will hasten your injury recovery.
Some of the most beneficial anti-inflammatory foods include fish (particularly salmon and sardines) and fish oil, nuts and seeds, avocados, and other vegetables that are grown above the ground. Inversely, processed foods, foods made with vegetable oil, and foods that are high in trans fats carry inflammatory properties with them, which are likely to impair the injury-recovery process.
Stated succinctly, inflammatory foods make it that much harder for your body to perform at its best and put injuries in the rearview mirror, while anti-inflammatory foods have the opposite effect.
There’s never been a better time than now to adopt these straightforward, useful tips into your regiment. Their far-reaching benefits are invaluable both generally and specifically speaking, with regards to the often challenging injury-recovery process.
By prioritizing hydration, sleep, and anti-inflammatory eating, you’re taking a major step not only towards beating your injury, but towards emerging stronger, healthier, and happier.