Welcome to Tips Tuesdays, where each week I impart some wisdom I have picked up over the years, or maybe just yesterday when I read an interesting article online :) Today I wish to talk about listening to what your body it telling you.
Listen to Your Body - It Knows Best
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So I had a new experience on Saturday during my session with my personal trainer Steve. For the last few days I have been suffering with an inner ear imbalance. Unfortunately it happens sometimes when I get a mild cold it doesn't come out as sniffles, it goes to my sinuses and my ears and sets off my balance. Every time I change aspect from vertical to horizontal or vice versa the world spins - lovely!
I thought I was fine apart from that and went ahead with my session anyway. My warm up felt a lot harder than usual, but I thought it was just because I was having to be careful with my ear.
Steve was incredibly good after I told him, he made sure to pick exercises where if my balance went it wouldn't be a problem and kept making sure I was okay and taking it easier than usual. He passed on the immortal words "Remember it's your body, no one else can tell you if you're okay to keep going".
I should have listened to my body.
There was this one exercise in the new circuit which is a compound exercise. These are exercises that use lots of different muscle groups and are very good for keeping the heart rate up during a circuit. The only snag is I couldn't do the easier one Steve wanted me to try first because it required balance and ankles that work better than mine. We tried adapting it, but it was no go. So the only one I could do is really hard: 1 push-up and then stand up and then down and back into another push-up. This is difficult because it sends blood flow all over the place and makes the heart work hard.
The first go through I managed 12, but I had to sit down afterwards for quite a while. I should have known then it was time to stop, but I pushed on.
On the second go through of the circuit I did 1 of those (Steve had told me I didn't have to do any if I couldn't manage, but I was trying to be stubborn) and when I stood up I was suddenly very short of breath. This was not because I was winded, it was because I was suddenly trying not to cry. You know when you want to sob and you're trying to stop yourself and you get all short of breath - it was that. I burst into tears for no reason my brain could fathom. I wasn't sad or anything, but I went from normal to a shaking, blubbering wreck in the space of a few seconds. It was thoroughly bizarre.
It seems I had pushed myself too far and maybe the virus setting my ear off was affecting me more than I suspected. I didn't listen to the warning signs and my body finally went 'NOPE!'
Don't worry, I was fine after a warm shower and a nice cup of tea, but I have to say that was one of the strangest experiences ever. It's really weird to be crying your eyes out for no reason you can fathom.
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From now on I will listen to what my body is telling me. I knew all the way through my session that something was up; it wasn't the normal 'oh this is hard, but I'm actually enjoying it' - every exercise was dragging me down. I should have paid attention.
Some More General Indicators to Look Out For In Other Situations
So it isn't just exercise that causes reactions in us that we often choose to ignore.
- Are your shoulders tense? Have you been sitting in front of the computer too long?
Get up, walk around a bit, shake the tension out of your shoulders, your nerves will thank you for it.
- Is your wrist aching when you use your mouse?
You might need an ergonomic mouse of some kind which puts a lot less stress on the wrists and fingers. Normal mice cause the wrist to twist, ergonomic mice do not.
- Do your fingers and hands ache?
This could be early signs of tendinitis or carpal tunnel - when my husband had this problem our doctor told him to get a large ball - basket ball or soccer ball - and then toss it around a bit every time his hands started to ache. Because the ball is large it causes the hands to stretch and keeps the tendons mobile. This youtube vid gives some more exercises that help:
- Are your eyes tired or do you have a very mild headache? Have you looked up from the computer in the last hour?
Your eyes need to rest and looking long distance helps - just stare out the window for a few minutes. Do this every twenty minutes or so to give your eyes a break. If you are getting prolonged headaches when doing computer work it is probably a good idea to have your eyes checked - you may need (new) glasses.
- Are you feeling hungry?
Try having a drink of water or a nice cup of tea - sometimes the body confuses thirst with hunger and you could be slightly dehydrated. If you are still feeling hungry, congratulations, you actually are, so go eat something - preferably something good for you. Remember as well to eat slowly - the body knows when it's full, but it takes time for the signals to get through to the brain, if you eat slower you will eat less.
The human body is pretty brilliant, but I think, sometimes we forget to listen to it.
Do you have any tips on listening to bodily warning signs? Have you ever had an incident like I did?
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