As discussed previously in this post; it is often not until we experience a negative that we learn and adapt.
Such is life and human nature. For me, nowhere is this more prevalent than in regard to our bodies.
In just one slice of your kitchen knife your hand could be forever effected. With one slip of the barbell you could injure yourself and forever suffer painful symptoms. Ill-feed your body, consistently ignoring your internal objections and live in a vicious cycle of lethargy and subsequent reliance on poor nutritional options. Ignore a niggling inflammation in your body, continue to exercise and never fully achieve your physical potential.
Most of us know how at least one of the above feels. In the past few months I have experienced how almost all of them feel.
How our bodies cope with such trauma is something to behold. To a certain point, they will put up with it all; giving us second, third and tenth chances to redeem ourselves. To be kinder and more considerate of our precious bodies, of ourselves. Hoping we come to the realisation that our bodies are us and vice-versa as opposed to something separate and outside of ourselves.
Of course the reality is that one day they will give up on us all, however while we are here I feel fairly confident that each of us aims to live as rich and as full a life as is possible. The vehicles that carry us through this life, our bodies, are then fairly crucial no matter what your individual situation.
Late last year my incredible, strong, healthy (and clumsy!) man Tippy put a super-sharp knife almost right through his hand. I will save you the gory details other than to say that this kitchen mishap resulted in me compressing the wound with all of my strength though not before I sighted the bones inside his hand…
Emergency micro-surgery, 2 casts, 4 weeks of rehab and an impressive scar later, he is fortunate and incredibly lucky that there is no long-term damage. The lesson learned in taking things a little slower and being more cautious was a particularly tough one in this instance.
More than ever before, Tippy is acutely aware of how fortunate he is in his body and to have full use of his hands. Now if only we could all harness that awareness, daily. Silly humans that we are, it is often not until we experience the negative that we see the positive…
In contrast and not an accident, the experiences I have had with my body over the past few months have centred almost entirely on my shoulder. What began as an ignored injury became a true blessing and the uncovering of a significant skeletal issue in said shoulder(s).
With the help of an awesome physiotherapist I received treatment and a mega challenging rehabilitation program. I decided (with his wise counsel) to apply the exact same tenacity, discipline and consistency to my rehab as any other exercise program that I have undertaken.
If for no other reason then to get back to my regular program as quickly as possible. That was 6 months ago. I am still yet to return to it.
The skeletal issue, nor the rehab is important here, what I do want to discuss is how after months of committed rehab and an adjusted regular training program, things got worse. Way worse. Walking, breathing, standing, sitting, lying down – it all hurt, a lot.
Carrying my gym bag or a handbag? Agony.
Of course this is when I finally stopped all of my regular (adjusted) training program as I quite simply could not do it. My body had most certainly had enough. Without recognising it, I had ignored all the warning signs and over-fatigued my left shoulder to such an extreme that simply living was now unbearably painful.
After this diagnosis 3 weeks ago, a totally scaled back exercise program (don’t worry I still push myself), daily life is much more manageable and I am headed to the physio for a follow-up today. We will work on a complete overhaul of my training program with the harsh observation that I may never return to my old program. Not because it was wrong, simply because I was perhaps not made to move in that way.
Initially from my rehab corner at the gym, I would watch people running, jumping and lifting and wish I could be in their shoes. In fact I have done this every time that I have been sidelined with an injury and very quickly I picked up on this negative thought pattern and stopped, deciding instead to intensely focus on what I was doing. Not to rush back to anything else and simply to care for my hurt body. The same body that has kindly and efficiently carried me around for almost 29 years. The one that I feed well and move in wonderful ways, though also the one that I did not include as a factor in all decisions made. The one that I ignored all too often.
After today who knows what I will and won’t be doing when it comes to my training though I do know this much; it will be challenging and I will push myself like I always have.
Yesterday I completed HIIT skipping and leg work in addition to my rehab work. I could barely breathe or walk afterwards and I loved every second of it. Learning to adjust, expand my repertoire and grow is never a bad thing so you might say this is all a blessing to be grateful for. I know I do.
Physical movement is essential and ultra-rewarding. Not however if it is at the expense of your overall wellbeing.
Sore knees? Instead of running and jumping today, do some resistance training with no load on your joints.
Feeling sluggish and lacking in energy? Add some beautiful fresh produce to your food choices today.
Experiencing headaches and an inability to focus? Back off the coffee, get outside, drink more water and try a green tea.
Listen and take of your precious body. It is most certainly worthy of your care.