Whatever moves you to exercise, let it move you through the journey slowly and carefully. Don’t jump into things your body is not ready to do!
Now, don’t get me wrong, your body is capable of amazing things! It can do almost everything you want it to do (you just can’t fly on your own… sorry). But you have to train your body to do it all. Jumping ahead of the game is only going to put you ahead in line for a wonderful gift: a not-so-functional body.
So here’s where I’m trying to get:
There are huge muscles in your body that need to be stretched and pampered in order to function well. By “pampered” I mean warm-ups, stretches, more stretches, the right fuel, and rest. (I will write more about this for all of you wonderful fitness-inspired individuals in another part of this series. Stay tuned!) The same way, your big joints also need attention and care.
Our biggest joints are the shoulders, hips, and knees. Of course, the other ones are important too, but these are big ones that we sometimes ignore – especially the hips (I’ll talk about them in another part as well). The moment you hurt one of those, the way you walk, sit, stand, run, bike, sleep, will be different – and not pleasant. It’s like getting that not-so-functional body at a very young age.
I say that because I’ve been there and done that.
When I was a kid, I was much more active than today’s kids are with their game consoles, TVs, phones, tablets, computers, and who knows what else. But everything I did, I did without taking care of my body. I started doing gymnastics-like exercises at home when I was very young. I saw the gymnasts in the Olympics and naturally, I wanted to be one of them (Duh!). All of those tumbles, flips, and flexibility I eventually gained came at a cost on my body. If you’ve ever seen professional gymnasts, their landings are soft and smooth. But if you go to a gym where beginners train, their landings are loud and clumsy – at least mine were. It ended up being a lot of pressure on my knees and ankles.
A lot of other careless activities may have led to my present situation, but here’s the spoiler: I’ve actually never injured my ankle (thank goodness!), but my knees got the worst of it.
If you’ve ever sprinted, you know that you basically push yourself from your toes. It takes a lot of power from your quads and if you don’t do it right, warm up, and slowly work up to it, your knee will suffer, I promise. And if you keep ignoring that pain (“no pain no gain” is not a friend), then you will end up with bad knees.
I am currently wearing knee braces and my doctor advised me to stop running, at least until my knee situation has subsided or alleviated.
Bottom line is: take care of your knees, okay??
On the worst days, it’s a struggle to even fold my legs to sit crisscross. Another huge downside to this is that it hurts to be facing down to sleep – and I love sleeping on my tummy. Sleeping in fetal position also hurts because my knees go against each other…
So if the sleep interference isn’t enough to convince you to warm up your joints before you do anything, then I don’t know what is… But find a reason and use it!
Exercise takes a long time to build up to. Do not force yourself to run 10 miles the first time you get on that treadmill… Just warm up first and then go for it!
Thanks for reading my personal warning to you!
Take care of yourself.
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Much love, B.