In this post, I wanted to talk about exercise and the body awareness. This is the ability to be able to listen to what your body is telling you. Very often, training can surface the philosophy of “No Pain, No Gain”. This is probably the worst philosophy when you are working your way up to a goal, whether it be push ups, swimming/running/cycling. Often I have told patients that it is best to totally under-do their goals while they find where they are in their training setup. For example, when someone is starting a running program, beginning at a 3 – 1 ratio for walking and running. So, walking 3 minutes and running for 1 minutes, then go back and forth between the two. Then you can finish and say “wow, that was really easy”. Progress to walking to running at a ratio of 3-2 and go from there. During this time, always be aware of your comfort level and stop running to a walk if you are feeling discomfort. Good therapy can help your get your body ready for the training. In my clinic, I often hear that people are pushing themselves to reach their current goal. Also, they may be in a group that they need to keep up with. That social pressure can interfere with your bodies progression to the goals set.
Very often, injury can occur when you become tired as your primary movers become tired like hip flexors, calves ect., and other muscles that aren’t supposed to be primary movers have to kick in to help the body run. Injury is not always sudden and can evolve slowly then can arise when least expected.
I had a conversation with a client about running. They said that they were feeling pain and difficulty with running with the group but “managed to keep up”. I said “why don’t you just say to the group that if you feel like you can’t keep up, you will just carry on your own to your comfort level”. They mentioned this to the group that she felt was a little faster than her. It turns out that 1/2 of the people were suffering like her and pushing themselves to hard but no one said anything. It’s good to be open about where you are with those that you exercise with.
You will reach your goal faster if you listen to your body. If you don’t, you may injure yourself and that can put your training on hold for a while, which I know from personal experience is very hard.