When I started working out in my early 20’s I felt invincible. I was a machine that didn’t need to be oiled. Stretching was merely an inconvenience I didn’t have time for. ‘Rest’ was not in my vocabulary. I was fortunate, for a very long time, to remain injury free, the only sign of my mortality being creaky knees.
Two years ago during an aerobics class, right after a particularly enthusiastic high-kick, I felt a sharp pain in my stomach muscle, just to the right of my belly button. It literally took my breath away, but thinking it was just a bad stitch, soldiered on to the end of the class, taking easy options. I went home and assumed I’d wake up the next day feeling great.
When the pain was noticeably present the following day, I became mildly concerned, but it was only when I tried to go for a run and was confronted by a sharp pain again that I became worried. I went to the doctor only to find out I’d torn my ab muscle. Unfortunately, there’s not a lot you can do without using your abs, so my exercise regime became drastically lighter (translation: wussier) for the next couple of months. Then I felt as though things were improving, so I (stupidly) decided to try out my old routine. Bad move.
So I re-tore the muscle (not a pleasant feeling) and had to lay off ab work and anything too strenuous for months. I had to switch to cycling, weights and the cross trainer to try and maintain strength. I really missed high intensity workouts and getting drenched in sweat. It was a really frustrating time and got me really down.
My operations this year, though unrelated to the injury, did give my stomach a chance to rest fully for a few months. I am nearly back to doing everything I was before, bar a few ab routines, and while I still get twinges every now and then, I now know how important it is to lay off instead of thinking I’m indestructible and can ‘power through the pain’.
The point of this post is to just highlight that I have learned injuries are not to be taken lightly and it isn’t worth it to try and jump back into training as soon as possible if you risk re-injury. They mess up your plans and can be really frustrating, but injuries are just one of those things you have to put up with.