Listen to your body

Although I don't really want to admit to growing up, there are times that I notice that I am getting older. This doesn't mean that I am falling to bits or anything, but it does mean that when my body has an issue, it doesn't just clear up by itself any more.

Having said that though, most of the things my body has to deal with are more day-to-day stuff, not really those side-effects of ageing. (especially since I stopped dying my hair and discovered my natural colour is grey marle)

Like the sore ankle that I can hardly walk on the next morning after I do leg presses not-quite-right at my fitness class. Maybe I have had my feet too far apart, or too far back, but now I have adjusted my stance a bit, and it seems to be working.

Or the four day headache that I have at the end of term that lets me know just how tightly wound up I have been - it only hurts when it's letting go. A good massage or the osteopath can set that one right, but really I need to work more on the not getting stressed through the course of the term thing more. That's still a work in progress...

Just recently, since getting back into the running, I have noticed that afterwards I have had this stupid little cough. I thought to start with I had just the edges of the flu the husband had (actual, not man-flu) and the cough had come from that, but as time went on, I began to wonder. And then there have been a couple of times in the last week or so that I have felt really breathless and tired, not normal.

So I thought about it some more and realised a couple of things. I have been doing this sort of thing off and on throughout my life, but never really seriously or to the point of having to stop doing something. And my sister had been telling me about my niece, who is an excellent swimmer but had to stop and cough at the end of races. I had never really heard about exercise-induced asthma before, but those couple of things added to my recent experiences made me wonder.  

So I went to the doctor and yes, I now have an inhaler for just-in-case and/or pre-emptive strikes. I had a wee practice with it while I was there to make sure I could use it properly, and then she basically told me to go out for a run and see if it made a difference. 

Well, the difference it makes! I ran down that hill and climbed those stairs like I was light and free (poetic licence I know, but it was such a change!) and the only thing slowing me down was how tired my legs were from going faster.

Because I could feel that something wasn't right, I listened to my body and worked out how to make it better:
  • If it hurts when you're doing something, feel it. Then think about changing your technique so that pull or pressure doesn't happen in the same way. Good technique in anything will not only make you more effective, but will also make you far less likely to ding yourself.
  • If you are injured, it's okay to rest it. It might mean you have to start again, like me, but it's better than the constant re-injury and weakening that happens if you start again too soon. I've done that with a calf muscle and it really wasn't worth it.
  • If it's stress-related, you need to attack it from two sides at once - do something about the symptoms, like my headache, but also do something about the situation. There are plenty of other people who can give more informed advice on that, I only know that for me, by the time I have a headache, it's too late, I should have been aware of how I was feeling three weeks or so beforehand.
  • If it just doesn't feel good, then listen to what your body is feeling and what particular thing isn't right. Decide if it's something you can sort out, or if you need more specialised help or advice, and then do something about it.
I'm not advocating mass hypochondria or anything, but most of the time, if something feels wrong, it probably is. Especially with exercise and activity. We're supposed to feel better when we get out and do stuff, and it might only be little, easily fixed things that get in the way. 

So listen to your body. It will tell you.

#healthandfitness #fitnessgoals #listen


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