Injury…an excuse or an opportunity?

Injuries can really do a number on a person, athlete or otherwise.  Recently, I got into a minor (or so I thought) brawl with my new, industrial, fancy, smoothie-making blender.  I insisted that I would be fine after slicing open my thumb on the giant stainless steel blade. 

God love my husband, he wouldn’t even let me shower, after my 2.5 hour workout (oh, goodness me!), and insisted I get in the car immediately so we could head to urgent care.  However, he did mix my much-needed post workout drink (not in the Ninja that “jacked me up”  as my little one now says). An hour and a half later, I was all stitched up and banned from “lifting” for 10 days. How, on earth could I live like this????

I decided to disobey doctor’s orders and lift, a little.  OK, I lifted a lot, but limited it to my legs and abs, two areas that didn’t require me to hold onto any weight, per se, but just rest it on my back, use machines or put plates on my chest. 

Now, I’ll be the first to admit, legs are my least favorite muscle group and I never look forward to working them.  (Oh, never say never…Do you sense some foreshadowing?)  In addition to working these two muscle groups, I did a pretty significant amount of cardio, ignoring the throbbing in my right (Of course, it HAD to be my dominant hand) thumb.  I was bound and determined not to use my injury as an excuse to stop doing one of the things I love the most.  Spending time in the gym is my mood stabilizer; it’s a passion.  Without it, I’d be one miserable person.

Not using my injury as an excuse was actually a good thing, for more than just the obvious reason that sitting around, doing nothing other than eating as much or more than usual, without activity to burn off my consumption.  It actually created an opportunity I wouldn’t have otherwise had. 

What’s that, you ask?  This one isn’t obvious and is something I never thought possible.  I learned to love working my legs!  Yep, lunges and all!  Given it was one of the only forms of strength training I was allowed, I looked forward to it every third day.

Now, you may be asking, “Well, how long could this hiatus from back, biceps, triceps, etc. have really lasted?”  Answer:  An entire month!  My stitches came out, only to find my thumb was infected.  A week after finding that out and nearing the end of my course of antibiotics, things weren’t progressing in a positive way.  Another week went by following with a different round of advice and things still weren’t looking up.  Fortunately, after consulting with some other medical professionals, I got the orders I needed and I’m almost 100% (minus some numbness and swelling).

Long story short, folks, you can use any unfortunate incident as an opportunity.  We can always find a bright side to things.  After first visiting urgent care, I could have shut down and given up until I healed.  That would have been the easy way out.  Trust me, I was upset and down for the first few days and a piece of me wanted to just blow the gym off, especially having to sub out my Body Pump classes.  But, I decided to make the most of things and do something I disliked (working legs), so as to not let one mishap cause problems in other areas of my life.  Who knew this could work to my advantage, present me with an opportunity?  I sure didn’t, but I do now.

As much as this relates to our physical wellness, it also relates to our emotional wellness.  What negative are you willing to turn into a positive today, this week, this month?  Do share!

Carri Nelsen of Gold’s Gym in Shrewsbury.

Got questions for Carri?  E-mail them to




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