Listen to Your Heart (You Knees, Your Spine…..)

knees 2Monday night at kickboxing, we did lots of squats and lunges, really giving my knee a workout.  It’s pushing back.  The discomfort is coming from the tissue around the joint more than from inside it; so, I don’t think I did any damage – I just irritated the thing.  But, just in case, I’ve worn my brace for three days and used modified techniques during Wednesday’s class. My knee is complaining and I’m listening to it.

When I talked about first going back to kickboxing class I gave this advice:

  1. talk to your doctor to make sure your body can handle it – seriously, a heart attack on the treadmill is just a buzzkill for everybody,
  2. consult a professional (a certified personal trainer, if possible) and ask for their help in developing a program that works for you,
  3. DO SOMETHING YOU ENJOY! If you hate it or just tolerate it, you’ll never stick with it.

Let me add to that: 4. listen to your body.

Now, when I say that, I mean listen to REAL complaints, not those whiny ones we make up to avoid doing crunches when we’d rather be climbing into a bag of jalapeno potato chips.  (Potential TMI warning) When I set out for a long walk or run, I always empty my bladder first (never pass up an opportunity to use the restroom – life wisdom there at no extra charge).  Regardless, about five minutes into my adventure, my bladder sends out distress signals a la Titanic.  “Return to port! Return to port! Leak detected in the hold!”  Pssst!  Guess what.  My bladder is lying to me.

Often when I start a workout, I begin to feel very tired and I start to think that there’s no way I can finish it; so, I should just lie down right now.  Again, my body is lying to me.

I have to watch closely to discern truth from falsehood: to know when a muscle says, “I’m tired” and it’s really saying’ “I want to watch cartoons.”  Or when it’s really saying, “I’m about to pull, tear or otherwise jack up your world.”

I’m fairly new to all of this fitness stuff – just a couple of years old, really; so, I’m still learning to differentiate the signals. Given the spontaneous injuries professional athletes suffer, I’m not sure that anyone can ever completely do it.  However, to avoid injury and lose the ground we’ve gained, we’ve got to tune in and at least give it an honest try.


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