Health and Wellness Self-care

Know Your Body

I’m officially old.

This past Monday, while playing kickball with my 5th grade P.E. class, I tweaked my back throwing the ball in from the outfield. The muscles instantly tightened and pain shot through my glute whenever I turned. I sucked it up and moved on, but knew I needed to get help that day. If I let it go for too long, the muscles would continue to tighten and I wouldn’t be able to get out of bed the next morning.

As soon as we got home from school, I called my chiropractor and scheduled an appointment for a hour later. After a painful but needed adjustment, my pain decreased by 50% when I went to bed and 80% the next morning. I’m thankful that I know my body well enough to know when the pain or “tweak” is something that I can manage or is something that needs to be taken care of right away.

This was a learned process. Trust me, I’m often the last person to go to a doctor or take the needed rest for any type of pain. But after a big injury back in the summer of 2019 that had me flat on my back, I learned to listen better to the pain signals, give myself time to heal, and not just “suck it up” or “walk it off.”

Nothing hits the ego or makes you feel old, then tweaking your back simply throwing a ball (another not-so-gentle reminder that I’m 42 and not 22). Even though I exercise, lift weights, eat well, take good supplements, etc., age can still be a factor. As we get older, it is even more important to take care of our bodies and listen to them.

Stay active. Eat well. Take high-quality supplements. Reduce the toxic chemicals. And don’t forget to take time to rest, heal, and listen to your body. Getting older doesn’t mean you have to stop doing what you love, but it might be different. You might have to ease into things, stretch even more (if you’re young, be good with your stretching NOW), and give yourself those rest days.

And if you need a sympathetic ear or encouragement, I’ll be over here nursing my back and ego.

Ready for some kickball! — pre-injury 😉
Health and Wellness

Down the Road…

I started feeling pain in my right glute starting in July 2019. I stretched and foam rolled to try to make it get better, but I continued with my daily runs and workouts. One month later and the only way to not feel the pain shooting down the back of both of my legs was lying completely flat on my back. As someone who is always active, this was a big wake up call. I decided that I needed to do things right (not just take a break for a few days and then try running again), so I started Physical Therapy and stopped running or working out.

Gotta admit, on top of struggling to stay still, one of my first thoughts was “how will I not gain weight if I can’t workout?” Then I reminded myself what I tell clients all the time: wellness is 80% nutrition and 20% exercise. I took a look at my nutrition and made sure I was eating good foods and not mindlessly snacking. Not only did I maintain my weight (even lost a few pounds), but it helped me reshape my mind-frame on exercise. 

I’ve worked in health and fitness for a while and I always hear people talking about working out so they can eat tacos or donuts or pizza or ____. The thing is, you can’t out-exercise a poor diet! Yes, exercise can boost your metabolism and burn calories, but if you continue to eat poorly, you will continue to be disappointed with what you see in the mirror and constantly be weighed down with guilt. Nutrition is the key ingredient to the physique and abs (and other health factors) that you desire.

So, if nutrition is the main motivator to losing weight, why bother to exercise? I have seen plenty of people jump on the latest diet trend to lose weight and most of them don’t incorporate exercise. Yes, you’ll lose weight, but there are a lot of reasons why it’s still important to focus on the other 20% (exercise) to reach total 100% health.

1. Exercise boosts your mood. Feeling tired and run down? Go for a walk. Take in the scenery, pray, listen to music or a podcast, and relax. One of the big things I learned during my recovery was the benefits of a good walk. I put in my earbuds, turn on some worship music, and go for a nice long walk to pray, calm my thoughts, and melt my stress away. Exercise boosts your endorphins and decreases the presence of stress hormones.

2. Exercise is good for your heart. Your heart is a muscle, so aerobic exercise helps to keep that muscle strong and more efficient as it pumps life-giving blood and nutrients throughout your body.

3. Exercise is good for your brain. Exercise has been found to help memory and slow the progression of memory decline later in life.

4. Exercise supports your immune system. Regular, moderate exercise stimulates immune activity so you are less likely to get sick or infections.

5. Exercise helps your sleep better. Just moving 20 minutes per day will help increase your quality of sleep.

6. Exercise keeps your joints healthy. Regular movement and exercise keeps your joints from getting stiff and reduces aches and pains now…and as you age.

For me, one of the biggest benefits to regular exercise is that my body is able to keep up with my active kids. Not just the day to day activities, but playing basketball with my 10-year-old and having dance parties with my 8-year-old as well. I love having the energy and ability to keep up with my children and engage in what makes them happy.

Down the road, how do you want to feel? Do you want to be able to travel with your spouse, chase your grandkids, have less pain? What you do now — both with nutrition and exercise — effects how you’ll feel down the road. How are you preparing for your future health?