Each of us needs to withdraw from the cares which will not withdraw from us.
Most of my articles have talked about the aspects of training. How to get more out of our training, using training to address imbalances, etc. So I was pondering today what can I write about, what can I write that will help people and also be interesting. Usually when I’m thinking about various ideas for this blog, I’ll work through in my head what I would write about and try to determine if it’s interesting enough to post. Then I’ll start to write the article that I have planned for that day, and as I write the article I’m also trying to be critical of it and still evaluating if the article will make it to the blog. Not all ideas I have make it to the blog. I’m hoping that’s a good thing and that my critical analysis has been of value so far.
Some ideas will come to me from questions people ask me, or also from comments people make. I actually find it really interesting in that one question, one comment can end up being a 1,800 word post. And questions and comments are great for articles because if it was worthy to be a question or comment, it’s probably perfect to write about.
What is it about
This leads me to today’s post. It’s fantastic if you are someone who can get yourself to your workout when planned, and don’t miss many, or any at all. You have a lot of drive, you have the time or you make the time, and you have the flexibility to fit in your workout. You are someone who feels anxiety when you miss your workout. You just have to get it in or your whole day becomes impacted.
This is good, right? Yes, mostly. But, it can also become a detriment to your training, to your body, to your mind, and to your health. Just like too much protein in our diet can negatively impact our health by damaging our kidneys, too much exercise without adequate rest will damage our body, in some cases causing injury.
The first case
Let me first start with someone who has just taken up an active lifestyle. This person was introduced to running, and they have determined that they have found the one exercise they really like. They like running so much that they are running every day, and increasing their distance weekly by large amounts. After about 6 weeks of increases in distance, and the frequency of running, this person is injured and diagnosed having runner’s knee. Time off from running will be 4 to 6 weeks. So much for those gains made.
It’s important to keep in mind that when we undertake a physical activity such as running, biking, swimming, etc., that we need to gradually increase duration, or increase load. Someone training to run a marathon does not go from running 3 miles one week to increasing their distance to 6 miles the next week. I’m not going to spend time detailing all the training techniques and methods, because I think you understand my point. Unless you are an elite athlete, who has access to coaches, vast increase in workout time and load will potentially damage the body. If you think about how our body is made up, the joints, connective tissue, bones and muscles, there is a lot going on. And your body has adapted to your somewhat sedentary lifestyle of the last few years. You need to give it time to adjust, to repair itself after training, to gradually get used to the modest increases in load.
The second case
Unlike my first example, this person lives to workout, and has for a number of years. Probably a day doesn’t go by where this person is not working out. Even outside of workout time, he keeps very active. Not someone to just sit around and do nothing. The problem is this person is not the person they were 5 or 10 years ago, they are older. As the body ages, it’s not able to recover as quickly as it used to. With the body taking longer to recover, you become more susceptible to colds and flus, run a greater risk of injury and can actually lose physical gains you have made and start regressing instead of progressing.
Now by no means am I saying that as you get older you cannot do the things you used to do. I really think I would be the last person to say that or tell someone that. There are a lot of examples of people who have remained very active as they aged, even to the point of being more active than when they were younger. Take Jack LaLanne as an example. This guy was pulling a boat around in the water with the rope from the boat in his teeth. Here is an example of one of his feets: 1979 (age 65): towed 65 boats in Lake Ashinoko, near Tokyo, Japan. He was handcuffed and shackled, and the boats were filled with 6,500 lbs. To be clear, not all of us are Jack LaLannes. I would believe genetics have somewhat of an influence on his achievements.
But just as the body does not recover as quickly as it used to, there are things we can do so we can continue to workout, and enjoy that part of our life. Sleep is one of our recovery tools that can prevent over training. If you’re an adult and are not getting 7 – 8 hours of sleep a night on a regular basis you are not giving your body the adequate sleep it needs for it to recover. Sleep is a very important part of the recovery process so the body can repair itself.
Another way to help prevent over training is by eating healthy. Proper nutrition, the proper amount of calories and the right calories to fuel and repair your body can be very beneficial. Also reducing simple carbs such as sugar from the foods you eat will help you in recovery, and will benefit you in many other ways.
Listen to your body too. If you are finding that you just don’t have the motivation to workout, then skip it. This is your body and mind telling you that you need a break. Listen to it and take the day off. You will more than likely feel much better the next day instead of feeling even more run down.
Complete the feedback
All good things come in time. Take the time to enjoy the ride, and reap the benefits as you ride along. Give your body the rest it needs. Listen to what it’s telling you or bear the consequences. How much rest is enough? How many calories do you need to consume daily? I don’t know. I don’t know you. But you can tell when you haven’t had enough sleep, and when you haven’t eaten enough. Right? Exactly. Train hard, but train smart.
Yours in health,