“No Pain, No Gain”…. words NOT to live by!! (regarding exercise)
It’s unfortunate that so many active individuals who are passionate and dedicated to exercise fail to recognize the warning signs of a problem…PAIN. The choice to ignore their pain often leaves them wishing they did not follow the mantra of “No Pain, No Gain”. Trust me, there is no shortage of 50+ year olds (or younger) who, after many years of exercise, are now suffering (physically, psychologically, and emotionally) as they are unable to exercise or participate in the sports they once loved because their bodies will no longer allow them to. Sadly, it did not have to be this way….if they would have only listened to their bodies!! I am writing this entry in hopes that if you exercise for the betterment of your health, you will now be more aware and equipped to make wise decisions, allowing you to live healthy….and exercise for as long as your heart desires!
To illustrate my point I will use myself as an example. The Hints describe messages from your body that you should be listening to, and the Steps describe the systematic approach you should be taking to help ensure continued good health.
Lately for cardio, I’ve been walking hill intervals on the treadmill (running is hard on my body, so I DON’T run). Walking hills is challenging but is not overly impactful on your joints and is a solid cardio workout that burns calories (which is my goal).
Last night, I started my workout (Step #1-start your workout), 10 minutes into the intervals, my right hip started hurting (Hint #1), but I didn’t feel it on my left side (opposite side has no pain Hint #2), so I kept walking for another minute or 2 but the pain didn’t subside (continuous pain- Hint #3). So I decreased the level and took the incline down to zero but it still hurt (made adjustments but pain still prevalent –Hint #4), So, I did what so many fail to do: I listened to my pain (and the 4 Hints) and got off the treadmill. I then immediately went on the elliptical machine (Step #2-make a change to your workout if you have pain) and gave it a try in the hope that I could complete my daily exercise goal (burn calories). I had no pain, so I continued and went for 30 minutes with no pain. To be clear, if at any point on the elliptical I would have felt pain, I would have stopped. When I was done, I got off the machine, stretched for a few minutes and then laid on the Chi-Mat (Step #3-use management tools after exercise…if you don’t have a Chi-Mat get one! Otherwise I would have used ice).
Today, although I was NOT in pain, I got assessed (Step #4-when you experience pain, get assessed by a qualified practitioner) by my associate, Dr. Harris, and she diagnosed me with a mild strain of my TFL (hip muscle), she treated me (Step #5-get treatment when necessary) and she gave me a plan of action (Step #6-Have a plan)…over the next week, I will get a few more treatments, stretch, use a foam roller, stay off the treadmill, and continue to use the elliptical to satisfy my cardio goals. Once I get the OK from Dr. Harris, I will then resume my hill workouts on the treadmill.
I listened to my body and the hints it sent me, reacted appropriately to it in a systematic way (followed the Steps), and now have avoided making a mountain out of a mogul. Do you listen to your body?? YOU SHOULD !!
Dr. G’s Tips on how to avoid and react to pain:
- Set goals for yourself (what is the reason you are exercising and what results are you aiming to achieve? i.e. build muscle, lose weight, alleviate stress etc). The Risks should never outweigh the Reward!
- Listen to the hints your body gives you! If you feel pain during exercise, stop; try a different exercise, if pain persists, just stop!
- Get assessed! Pain is your body’s way of notifying you that something is wrong. If you feel pain, don’t fight through it, consult a qualified professional, the earlier you address the pain, the easier it is to regain pain-free healthy status
- If you exercise regularly, then you should be receiving some form of treatment regularly….your body needs it!
- Take a minimum of one day off from exercise a week (than means NO exercise)… your body needs it!
- Employ some “management tools” to support your exercise (i.e ice or heat, Chi-Mat, foam roller, etc.)
- Stretch!!! Before AND After exercise!!!
- Balance and Plan your workouts! That means mix things up…be sure to do some exercise that is less forceful on your joints (i.e. elliptical, bike, swimming), if you’re a runner- try not to run on back to back days, always make sure you do some form of cardio and weights (resistance training)
My personal thoughts…
Yesterday, with tears of joy, sadness, and reflection I started typing, I wrote it as a letter to my late wife Brenda. I talk to Brenda every single day, but felt like writing, with the intention of sharing it with you:
For me, there’s certain days in the calendar that aren’t and will never be normal days…they signify way too much. October 5, is one of those days! On October 5, 2001 my life changed forever when my beautiful wife Brenda was diagnosed with breast cancer. I can remember that day as if it was yesterday; we walked into the doctor’s office as an amazingly in love, happy and newly engaged couple. At 26 years old with the mention of 1 word, Cancer, our lives were forever changed. It’s10 years later, and boy have I been through a lot!! Brenda, I owe so much to you! You truly take care and watch over me everyday and have brought joy back into my life! As Julie (newly married ) would say…”wowie”. Can’t believe you’ve blessed me with Julie, such an amazingly spiritual woman with the kindest heart that has no boundaries, not to mention CRAZY hot;) As I write this10 years later, I’m so happy your wings are free to fly, thanks for staying close to me, I would not be where I am today if it wasn’t for you, your infinite wisdom, your love for life, and your passion for what matters in this world we live in. ! I love you Brenda, as much as I did on October 5, 2001(actually more because our love continues to grow) and I’m so honored and blessed to have you as my angel!! I remember frequently saying one thing to Sarah(my therapist who loved and adored Brenda)…no matter how much pain, suffering, and loneliness I endured, I always knew and BELIEVED you wouldn’t let me suffer forever…thanks for bringing me joy, happiness, and peace back into my life! Can’t wait for all of us to meet the beautiful baby in Julie’s belly Wowee!
If you read this, thanks for reading it! Inspire others and love like Brenda did. Make a difference!! Today, tell someone you love them, call someone and let them know you care, It’s amazing the power we have as humans, you just have to express it!
For those who are struggling in life, speaking from experience I leave you with this, hope it makes a difference! When you are stuck in the tunnel, its hard to see the light….take a few minutes each day to close your eyes and SEE that light, it’s there, believe it and you will achieve it…I DID Wishing you peace, love, and light! Keep smiling!