Tuesday, 31 March 2009

What to Do When Your Body HURTS...

Hi there,

Have you ever put your fitness program on hold because your muscles are sore, given up on Qi Gong because Muscle-Tendon Changing makes your back hurt, or stopped meditating because it makes your thighs ache?

If you’ve ever cut short any kind of personal development program because of physical discomfort, you need to read the uncomfortable truth here and find out how to get back on track…

Okay, So I Didn't Hurt it Skydiving ;-)

As I was off travelling last week, I did my best to maintain my minimum daily fitness routine that includes, among other things, 100 push-ups and 100 squats.

I had a sore right shoulder when I left home – not sure where it came from. And I was tempted to give the push-ups a rest for the week. Then I remembered a key lesson I learned some years ago…

…in many cases, training THROUGH the pain is the only way to make the pain go away. It sounds counterintuitive, yet it’s often the case. Let me give you an example.

Years ago I wrenched my right knee. I’d like to pretend I did this doing something sexy like skydiving. If fact, I did it getting up from a picnic table! Yes, my shoe lace got caught on a wing nut and that’s how I wrenched my knee. Nothing honourable about it ;-)

I never sought medical attention for it, since it wasn’t that serious. But after that I always had to treat that knee gently when exercising, doing martial arts or even sitting for meditation. It became one of those little annoyances of life that you just learn to live with.

Then, some years later, I changed my fitness program by adding squats (in this case, the ‘Hindu Squats’ that Matt Furey recommends in his program, ‘Combat Conditioning’ – a program that we recommend as the world’s best in the Warriorship Black Belt Program).

After about two weeks of squats, the problem went away and has NEVER returned. That made me realize the error of my ways. You see, the continued pain I was putting up with was not simply the result of the original injury; it was the result of my own failure to STRENGTHEN the injured soft tissue so it could heal property and completely.

The fact is, we’re in a culture that’s taught us to coddle ourselves to a degree that’s often ridiculous and counter-productive. The moment something hurts, we
think, ‘Oh, I must be ‘over training’. Perhaps I should give this a rest.’ The TRUTH is that there’s hardly ANYONE among us who’s in the remotest danger of ‘overtraining’.

On the Other Hand... Use Common Sense!

The caveat, of course, is that you need to know when continued effort will in fact aggravate an injury and delay healing. And that discernment only comes with time, experience and the insight that consistent training gives you into your own body and what your body is trying to tell you.

When I had lunch yesterday with Marc, my oldest friend (we met in grade 6!), he told me about how he had once started to play a university basketball game out of town, assuming that the leg injury he’d just suffered was only a Charlie-horse.

Well, about half way through the game the pain was too much and he walked off the court. When he had the leg x-rayed, it turned out the bone was cracked! So there’s an example of when it’s time to stop training!

However, for most of us in most situations, that’s not the case. Most of what you go through will resemble my knee more than Marc’s thigh. So keep training and don’t be thrown off by every little discomfort or you’ll never get anywhere.

And, at the same time, use your common sense.

- Dr. Symeon Rodger

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