Lunden Souza: Being fit helps healing process after injury

March 3, 2012 

Lunden Souza

I fell a few weeks ago in a grocery store, over my own two feet. I was doing wardrobe styling, one of my other side jobs, and I ran to the store to get lunch and slipped in my high-heel, over-the-knee boots and landed on my knees. At the time, I felt zero pain, minor embarrassment, and I just got right back up and continued in the self-checkout line. A couple of employees at the grocery store came to see if I was OK, and I thanked them, told them I was fine and continued with my day.

Five hours later my right hip and knee were inflamed and I could barely walk. The fall was so insignificant at the time that I really had to sit back and think what I could have done to injure myself so severely. Then it occurred to me -- the minor fall turned out to be not so minor.

For the first week, I walked with a limp, took anti-inflammatory medication like clockwork and was in pain no matter what I did.

Since I'm a mobile personal trainer, driving became one of the most tedious and painful tasks.

Every single night I just cried myself to sleep. How is it possible that I can be physically active, eat healthy food 99.9 percent of the time and then a minor fall leaves me out of commission? I have work to do, clients to see, a house to keep clean, and on top of that I have a mind that's just beating me up because I literally cannot move without severe pain.

Looking back now, a little over three weeks later and two gym sessions back in the game, I think it was the lack of endorphins running through my body that made me so depressed and emotional about this situation.

I work out all the time: plyometrics, weightlifting, yoga, Pilates, stretching, self-myofascial release -- what more could I have done to prevent my body from such severe injury?

Nothing.

See, that's the thing: had I not been so physically active, I wouldn't have been able to heal for at least a few months. I can't imagine what it would be like to be hurting and in pain for more than the time I was. I want to say thanks to my wonderful chiropractor and massage therapist and their physical and emotional healing; there's no way I would have been able to get over this physically or mentally if it was not for them.

I remember during one session I asked my chiropractor, "What would have happened to me if I had not been so physically fit and healthy?" His response was spot on. He told me that he's treated patients who were in the same car accident yet they have different healing times, based on their fitness level. Being healthy and fit is not about having awesome abs, or an amazing physique, even though those are things that I have found useful goals to use. It's about your ability to withstand injury and go about your daily life pain-free and with ease.

Driving, walking, sitting, standing and even lying down were tough tasks for me. I've had some clients and others complain to me that walking, getting in and out of a car and getting in and out of a chair is hard for them on a daily basis, even without an injury. That just makes me want to cry because those are activities that most take for granted. Being unable to perform those movements for just a couple of weeks was devastating to me.

This is serious -- it's not OK to not be healthy and to let your body go. It's the life and body that God gave you to take care of and strengthen. There should be no excuse for not taking care of yourself, being physically active and maintaining a diet of moderation.

Being immobile was horrifying to me. I thank God every day that I had Him and my fitness level on my side in my recovery.

The time is now! Get fit, and be a healthier you!

Lunden Souza can be reached at lunden.souza@gmail.com.

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