If you’re in a car accident, it can take a toll on so many areas of your life. If you’re in a car accident, it can affect your job, your mental health, and it can have a financial impact.
During an already trying and traumatic time, if you have a physical injury, it can make things even more difficult.
Some of the most common types of injuries that stem from car accidents include:
- Whiplash: This is a broad umbrella term for a set of injuries and not one specific injury. Whiplash refers to different types of tendon, muscle, and ligament injuries affecting your neck and upper back during a car accident. Whiplash occurs when our bodies suddenly move because of a stop or jolt during an accident.
- Head and traumatic brain injuries: Some of the most severe injuries that can occur during a car accident involve the head and brain. Sometimes these can be tough to spot right away.
- Broken bones: Broken bones from car accidents can range from a mild but painful hairline fracture to a compound fracture with entirely broken bones.
Even a mild accident can lead to pain that you have to recover from, but it’s important that as long as your doctor gives you the okay, you try to stay active, fit and healthy even as you’re going through this recovery.
Being Fit Initially Can Help You Recover Faster
First and foremost, if you’re already fit and healthy and you’re in a car accident, your underlying good health can help you recover faster. This is just one more reason to add to the long list of why physical activity and good health are so important.
If you are already in reasonably good shape, it can help you get back into a fitness routine faster, and your body will be stronger and more equipped to deal with the effects of an injury.
Whether or not you’re already a healthy and active person, the following are some things to keep in mind to recover from an injury stemming from a car accident, or any other kind of injury.
Do What You Can
Always follow what your doctor says, above all else. If your doctor gives you the go-ahead to move around a bit following a car accident or another injury, do what you can. Even if it’s not much at first, just getting off the couch and walking around your house is better than nothing.
Don’t get discouraged or have an all-or-nothing attitude.
Be patient with yourself as you’re healing and recovering.
As you’re starting to move around and get back into your routine, take it slow.
Even if you aren’t able to do any strenuous forms of exercise as you recover from an accident, think about doing stretching.
If you’re unsure where to start, you might want to consult with a physical therapist who can help you come up with a plan.
If you stretch, it can help you feel better and reduce your pain, and it can also keep scar tissue from forming and building up during your recovery.
Go For a Swim
Another excellent way to stay healthy, even if you’re injured is to take up swimming. Swimming is gentle and is suitable for many people regardless of their current fitness level. It also happens to be a great strength-builder and form of cardio.
If you’re intimidated to know where to begin with swimming, enroll in a group class in the water.
If you want to get in the water but you’re not ready for swimming, you can walk for the added resistance, or use a kickboard.
Work On Becoming Mentally Stronger
After an accident, you may feel anxious or discouraged. You might feel upset about having to give up your normal routine, and you may focus on the accident itself and the limitations it’s placing on you.
Sometimes during injury recovery, the most important strength training we can do involves our brains.
Take yourself out of ongoing negative thought patterns, or telling yourself you’re not recovering fast enough. Focus on what you are achieving and the things you do have control over.
In most cases, injuries are temporary, so don’t let yourself get stuck in your thinking.
Even if you aren’t yet cleared to start working out your body, do some brain exercises. Meditate and work on controlling your thoughts.
Choose the Right Foods
Sometimes following an accident, your movement may be fairly limited, but to stay feeling as good as you can, think carefully about your food choices during this time.
Healing foods are ones that are high in vitamins A and C as well as zinc and omega-3 fatty acids.
Having a healthy diet following an accident or injury doesn’t necessarily mean restricting your calories because your body is under stress as it’s healing and it needs enough food to start thriving again.
Instead of limiting calories, focus on having things that are nutrient-dense like lean protein and high-fiber fruits and vegetables.
Strengthen Your Core
Finally, when you’re able, focus your exercises on strengthening your core, which can help your entire body be stronger and more functional.
When your core is strong, you’re going to have better overall mobility.
Some simple core-strengthening exercises include balance stands and back extensions. You can also do planks and clamshells.
If your goal is strengthening your core, you want to focus on standing exercises that work your entire body.
You can use just body weight, and when you’re ready, perhaps you move up to using something like a resistance band.
Single-sided moves are important too because they help make sure you’re strong on both sides of your body so that one side doesn’t have to overcompensate for the others.
No one wants to be in a car accident and particularly not one that leads to injuries, but you can help speed up the healing process if you focus on staying as strong and active as your doctor will allow.