Friday, December 21, 2018

Overcoming Injuries with Zumba™ Fitness Instructor Claudia Buckler

As many of us know, injuries are a very real occurrence that we as instructors have to tend to occasionally or with more serious instances chronically. Zumba™ Fitness instructor Claudia Buckler wanted to share her experiences with her injuries in hopes to inspire others to know the signs and know when to take action. Here is her story...

Dealing with fitness related injuries was not easy physically or emotionally for me to handle. In fact, the emotional side of my injuries may have been more difficult to overcome! I injured my right foot in both 2017 and 2018. The first injury, Plantar Fasciitis, occurred in 2017 and the second injury, a stress fracture occurred the following year. For me, the second injury was a result of my body not healing properly the first time

Plantar Fasciitis is a very common condition (many athletes deal with this at the professional level), but I didn’t know much about this type of injury. I wasn’t paying much attention to the pain I was experiencing. I didn’t realize my condition could become a more serious injury, eventually leading to a completely torn tendon. That was a very painful lesson for me to learn. I now know it is vital to listen to your body!! I knew my foot was hurting but I didn’t take the time to figure out if I was just “hurting” or actually “injured. I could have possibly prevented the tendon from tearing had I done more physical therapy, stretching, or given my foot some additional time to rest. As individuals we react to injuries with a wide range of emotions which may include denial, anger, sadness, and even depression. An injury often seems unfair to anyone who has been physically active and otherwise healthy. Although these feelings are real, it’s important to move beyond the negative and find more positive strategies to cope with this setback. In many cases dealing proactively with an injury helps an athlete become more focused, flexible, and resilient. But how do you accomplish this? 

In many cases answering the following questions can help you overcome an injury, and just as importantly, prevent a re-occurrence of the same injury: 
  • How did I get injured? 
  • Why did I get injured? 
  • When and where did I get injured? 
  • What should I expect during my recovery? 
  • What are my limitations? 
  • Do I need to see a physician? 
  • How do I prevent the same injury in the future? 
It is common for people to seek out medical advice, but then ignore the prescribed treatment. Keep in mind that you may start feeling better a few days after your injury, but that doesn’t mean you are completely healed. Doctor's recommendations should be followed to the end to limit the chances for re-occurrence. Based on my experience, I suggest a follow-up appointment (or in some cases, several appointments) to get the doctor’s “OK” to start back up with your normal physical routine. 

Once you are back to 100% keep in mind you may need to alter your previous routine to prevent further injuries. I didn’t change my Zumba™ schedule or my daily routine enough between the two years I got injured and as a result I suffered another setback. I was angry with myself and promised not to do that again

Now that my broken foot has healed I am taking several preventative steps such as: 
  • Wearing the correct shoes (a running test can help you select the right types of sneakers).
  • Stretching before and after Zumba™ class
  • Icing after class (when needed).
  • Bringing students to the stage so they can help demonstrate high-impact moves.
  • Modifying moves to give me, and other students, options to manage their impact.
  • Limiting the number of classes I teach, and the number of classes I attend.
  • Getting more rest at night.
In conclusion, I would recommend to listen to your body. Don’t ignore any pain, even if it is very mild, because it can lead to more difficulties down the road. Unfortunately getting older is no fun! We must know and accept our limitations. For me, this means I cannot teach 8 classes per week anymore. My previous injuries require I teach less to help avoid any new injuries. But 3 classes a week is much more fun than 0! Good luck everyone and have a healthy, enjoyable, and positive work out!

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