When the battery on your cell phone is low, you search for a charger so your phone does not lose power. When your data is running low for the month, you probably take action to conserve data usage. When your cell phone screen cracks, you might work around it for a while but eventually, if you want to get the most from your phone, you replace it.
When your body is tired, sending pain signals, or not able to keep up with a certain exercise, what do you do? Our culture promotes pushing through pain. It encourages distracting from discomfort. The media implies that doing less is whimping out or not worth it. No pain, no gain, right?
Hummmm?? I’m wondering? Do we treat our cell phones better than our body? When the cell phone tells you it is tired, injured or can’t keep up – you take notice and give it what it needs. Of course! Trying to make it work harder, when it clearly needs some attention would just be silly, right!? Why then, do we think pushing our body through pain and fatigue will help it?
Yes, if you are training for competing, you need to push through discomfort to stay competitive. However, if you push your cell phone to its limit, you will be replacing it sooner than expected. There is a reason the average age for Olympic athletes is 24. The body is not quite as easy to replace as a cell phone. If you are exercising to live better for longer, listening to your body is a key to getting what you want from exercise.
Listening to your body means paying attention to it. It means knowing that those warning signals, like pain and fatigue, are signs something needs to change. There really is no such thing as a “good sore” or “good pain” with exercise for health and well-being. Listing to your body means knowing that pushing through is not going to make it better or give you better “results”.
There is a fine line here. Challenging your body will help it get stronger and more efficient. Pushing past challenging to uncomfortable is not a plan for lasting health, fitness and well-being. Pushing to uncomfortable is for short-term results.
The key is, in order to challenge it in the most efficient way, with the least wear and tear, know that what your body is telling you each moment is the most accurate and up to date information available.
It makes sense. But why is this so hard to do? Because it is goes against what our culture says about how to get the best “results” from exercise. Because the media all too often mixes up exercise for competing and exercise for well-being. The trick is knowing what results are you looking for? Short term fixes or long-term benefits? If you want lasting results, tune out any exercise programs that promise “quick and amazing results”.
When it comes to exercise, let’s be smarter than our smart phone! Listen to your body and it will thank you with more lasting and reliable health and well-being.
Keep Moving, Be Well