Injury and well-being

The current health agenda in our society promotes the endless benefits of exercise. Whether that’s the improvements in your life from feeling physically stronger or the mental health changes you experience by moving, setting goals and progressing. And, as most of us have experienced, these two things often waltz up to the party hand in hand.

There have never been more businesses, resources and support systems to help those who want to start their fitness journey. From school curriculum and office gyms to the endless #inspo on instagram, the world is set up to make it convenient and desirable to be in shape.

Podcasts on mental health often discuss exercise as the antidote - running to process trauma or taking up a sport to find communities who make you feel part of something bigger than yourself. I believe in this religion and have done for many years.

But what about when you can’t do these things? What if the well-being lifestyle runs through your veins as a cocktail mix of commitment and coffee but, for one reason or another, you can’t use this as your therapy anymore? We put the ‘healthy with abs’ human beings on a pedestal surrounded by their prepped meals and suddenly those who are injured can feel significantly less worthy.

Injury in an athlete's life can be difficult - the focus of sport helps us cope with the everyday toughness of life, so when that focus is removed the transition is understandably challenging. The brain speaks loudest when given space and it can often take time to enjoy the conversation.

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I have a long term spine and disc problem so decided to delve deeper into how, despite the inevitability of injury and illness, we learn to still feel worthy in this world of well-being…

- Cultivate an acceptance of impermanence. It’s the most humbling gift you can give yourself.

- Keep showing up fully, whether that’s with friends, family, work or sitting in your local coffee shop. Fulfilment is found in the most mundane places when you turn off auto-pilot and turn up with your whole present self.

- We sometimes get it right and sometimes don’t. We find ourselves riding the wave of momentum and then have an unbearable feeling of being overwhelmed - sometimes in the same morning. Don’t bucket yourself as ‘injured’. Life isn’t that black and white.

- Remind yourself that how you make people feel is infinitely more important than how you look or how physically strong you are.

- Fitness is only ever a means to being a happier, healthier, balanced and kinder human being. Whilst injured, focus on the latter and find ways to look after yourself that aren’t sport.

- What you consume has a monumental shift on your well-being, and this isn’t just the food we eat. Be aware of what you’re watching, talking about, listening to and most importantly, your own thoughts. Well-being is holistic and there are so many sectors that we neglect in favour of the gym.

- Supporting other people’s progression unlocks a new level of worthiness. Recently, I supported a team mate at a cycling race. As I helped unpack the car and prepare her for the start line, I had a sudden sense of deep fulfilment. And I didn’t need an energy gel exploding in my face to experience it.

- Listen to podcasts or read books about things you don’t know anything about. When I was fit enough to race, there wasn’t much time to widen my gaze outside of the sport. Being physically fit is desirable but so is the ability to hold a new conversation.

Life is tough and sport is a wonderful support, but KPP has always stood for the attitude around being a athlete not just the performance, with the ambition to teach and inspire a way of being that transcends further than the sport itself. So for the days you are away from lycra, the months of physio for inevitable injuries or the years off when life, motherhood, trauma or career happens, the mindset, perspective, community and whole-hearted worthiness you’ve built will remain. And with my back unable to pick anything heavy up at the moment, it’s a relief to have that weight off my shoulders.

Author: Kitty Pemberton-Platt, Founder and Designer KPP

Kitty Pemberton-Platt