New beginnings give the opportunity to pause, give yourself space to reflect on where you are, where you are aiming for and how you want to get there. Don’t dive in and just start. This opens you up to ignoring vital signs your body is warning you of OR missing unhelpful movement patterns and behaviours you can fall into.
Stop and reflect what you are feeling in terms of what your body is lacking or what you are wanting more from it. Think about the year ahead as a whole and think of milestones that you may be able to use to work towards. Don’t be in a hurry and fail to establish the right balance of building blocks from which you can progress. Speed in the wrong direction, is the enemy here.
For those of you who have read my recent blogs will be aware that my body has been problematic and painful over the last few months. Given the amount of time I dedicate to investing in it, for it to now cause me so many issues and restrictions in my life has been a hard wake up call. I have been asking myself where have I been going wrong or what have I missed? Along with a physiotherapy friend of mine I have worked out the following:
In terms of my choice of daily (and sometimes twice daily) strengthening and flexibility exercises, while on first impression this may look like a good thing, the reality is I have essentially been doing the same ones for a long time now. I do them because they are the ones I know my body has needed. The flaw in this is that our bodies need variety in the way they’re moved. A change in routine to function fully in all its functional functions, so to speak. I do my exercises at home which relies on me choosing the ones I do. This, as it turns out, has deprived my body the opportunity of moving in a wider variety of ways than if I were in a class and being challenged differently while being prompted how and what and when to move.
With me as my own teacher, aide memoir and advisor my perspective has narrowed. I’m inadvertently doing things on autopilot without thinking objectively of EXACTLY how I am doing what I am going. I have missed the subtle signs that my body was actually moving less efficiently in certain areas.
The other major factor was last summer I was undertaking a big project in addition to my normal life. While I still did my daily stretches and exercises, what I did significantly less of was my daily walk and my through-the-day posture check and body scan to monitor how I was feeling, what was lacking and therefore what I was needing. My mind was elsewhere. So when I started back to my usual regime, those wee inefficiencies had built up and become hardwired blocks in my ability to move fluidly and freely. Through a lack of being observed and corrected, these ‘blocks’ had morphed into significant dysfunctions resulting in pain and loss of ability.
It has been a challenging journey this past few months and one that I am still travelling along. I have gone back to basics in terms of reexamining every exercise I do as if for the first time. I am doing similar but different exercises to work on the areas that need working on. I am using You Tube for ideas and selecting people who can modify complex movements into simple component parts, from which I can assess and progress from. Anyone who is trying to impress me on how marvellously fit, agile and strong they are have no place in my life!
To rethink like this has in fact been a refreshingly refreshing re-fresh. Once I realised what was going on and put my ducks in a row, I have begun enjoying what I am doing because it now feels purposeful and appropriate. I still suffer from aches and pains but they are definitely lessening and I am now able to do more, more often with more enthusiasm.
Tuning in to focus on what is going on with your body is an INVALUABLE ESSENTIAL to living well. Use the start of 2020 as opportunity to rethink where you are with your health, what it is enabling you to do and not do and what it may need for you to live the life you want, for longer.