Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Listen To Your Body

I have a secret...

My body talks to me. It really does. Not with human words, per se, but it definitely has very effective means of communication. Let me give you some examples:

I have a specific amount of food (and types of food) that I should eat each day to feel good. When I don't eat enough, my body tells me with a very growly sound. When I eat too much or the wrong kind of food, my intestines say: "Please stop!" Just last night, I could tell I had eaten just a tad too much by how my body was communicating with me. It was no surprise when I stepped on the scale this morning and weighed 2 two pounds more than the weight I generally maintain. So I evaluated what I ate the previous day and determined that I probably shouldn't have had that hot cocoa at Caribou Coffee. Next time, I'll go for the hot tea (except I always forget!).

When I'm in a bad mood (or Rebecka greets me with a "Is somebody having a bad day?"), I stop and try to determine the cause. Is it that time of the month? No... Did something frustrating happen at work? No... Then I'm probably overtraining. Time to take a day off or modify the training plan a bit. My knees will also let me know when it's time to take a break or get new shoes.

My head is hurting. Hmmm... It normally doesn't hurt. Oh, I probably haven't been getting enough sleep. Think back... Yep, 7 hours here, 6 1/2 hours there. That's not enough. Time to be more diligent about getting to bed on time.

Lack of sleep is also not good for running... This morning, my body was telling me: "I'm feeling pretty tired. Could we take some walking breaks during the run today?" So I modified my workout to include a 1/20 mile walk break every half mile. It helped me do all five miles.

Last week, my body was telling me that something was not quite right. "I'm feeling a little hot and tired. I may be coming down with something. You should take a day off and nip it in the bud." I stayed home for a day and felt much better.

You may already be an expert listener to your body. That's awesome. However, if you tend to ignore the communications from your body, make a habit of listening and you'll be able to live in harmony with yourself and the rest of the world.

"I like to listen. I have learned a great deal from listening carefully. Most people never listen."
-Ernest Hemingway

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