Whilst it seems we are moving away from the no pain no gain mentality it still seem as though many of us try and fight our bodies when it comes to fitness. Working out through injuries or illness instead of listening to your body. Our bodies are smart, and often tell us important things if we listen. It’ll tell you when you are hungry, tired, stressed or sick but so often we ignore these signals. And they can be real signs that we need to cut back. It can work the opposite way as well of course and there will be days when your body tells you it needs a workout. I definitely have this if I skip a few more days than I should. My body tells me it wants to move.
Reading this you may well be thinking how the hell do I listen to my body when I never feel like working out. And that may be the case if you are new to exercise, or getting back into a routine. You may never have had the desire to exercise or you may have lost it. But our bodies do want to move, they want to be strong and fit so once you start exercising your body does start to tell you to move more often. You’ll feel worse for not exercising. And then you will need to listen to your body when it tells you to slow down.
There is nothing to be gained from exercising when you are injured, if something hurts stop. Rest is so important for recovery. Pushing through pain could sideline you for a lot longer than just taking some time to rest. The same goes for illness. Ever suffered with a cold or other illness that just never seemed to go away. You keep on with your normal busy life, feeling well under par until one day you decide to take a day and just rest. You wake up the next day feeling ready to take on the world again, it’s no coincidence. Stop powering through and take a break.
Tiredness is another one that makes us feel guilty for skipping a workout. But why, if you are unusually tired you need a rest. It doesn’t necessarily mean that you have to do nothing but maybe just a little less. Go for a walk instead of a run, lift lighter weights, reduce the intensity. If there’s one thing that pregnancy has taughtme it’s that slowing down is OK. Sometimes our desire to sleep is stronger than our desire to exercise and that’s OK. We shouldn’t feel guilty for a few extra hours rest, and usually your workout will be so much better the following day. Sleep is so important for our overall health, it shouldn’t be dismissed.
Learning to listen to your body will help you stick to a workout routine, prevent injuries and possibly making working out more enjoyable. Putting that little bit less pressure on yourself may just mean you can turn fitness binges into a lifelong habit.