Why you shouldn’t always “Listen to Your Body”
You have heard the phrase before…but sometimes “listening to your body” isn’t the wisest decision. Often we mistake what our body and mind are really telling us. What should we be listening for and what these messages mean?
If joint pain starts to occur during a particular exercise, you DO need to listen to your body and stop the exercise you are performing. Continuing through certain pains can lead to injury, which we want to prevent. The same is true for intense or sharp pain or strain during a workout.
Soreness does not mean that you should stop all activity until you are fully recovered. Stretching and light exercise can actually help work out muscle soreness. Alternate working out large muscle groups to avoid over-training, and use light aerobic activity such as walking to loosen up sore muscles.
As you near the end of your workout, you may begin to reach the point of exhaustion, and your body (mind) tells you to stop because you are tired. What are you to do?? It’s easy to tell yourself “Oh I did most of what I anticipated doing, and I really need to listen to my body.” You then stop your workout and call it quits for the day. If you feel light headed, overheated, or if your muscles are trembling, your body is telling you that you need to slow down. But there is a difference between feeling tired and reaching muscle exhaustion. Push through tiredness all the way to the end of your workout and you will feel like you can accomplish anything you set your mind to!
Perhaps you are eating dinner with friends and you are full, but there is more food on your plate. Your body (mind) is telling you to finish those last few bites…and when you clean your plate you are now in a food coma because you ate too much. In Japan, people begin each meal by saying a word that means “Eat until you are 80% full.” Instead of listening to your head, which tells you to clear your plate, listen to your body as you eat and try to gauge when you are 80% full. It takes about 20 minutes for your brain to register fullness, so if you stop just before you reach complete fullness, you will avoid overeating.
So what are we to do?
The temptation to quit a workout early or eat more than we should starts in our minds. This is where the battle ground takes place…where our thoughts become actions. Our bodies are capable of more than what we give them credit for. Doubts begin to flood our mind and prevent us from taking our fitness to the next level. It’s easy to become complacent with our current routine and not push for that next step. When your mind is telling you “NO” in the last 5 minutes of your workout, or “YES” to foods you know aren’t going to fuel you, PERSEVERE! Change your mindset and remember the “WHY” behind your decisions to live a healthy lifestyle. There will be moments of weakness and times that are more difficult than others. The key is to not give up and to build mental strength. This is the goal, overcoming the mental wall that prevents us from achieving our goals. Don’t let your mind deter you, and look forward to where your journey will take you.