Are You Really Listening to Your Body?

Exploring Intensity

Are You Really Listening to Your Body?

This Greatist article points out something we ourselves have battled with before — when someone says you need to “listen to your body” during a workout, what exactly does that mean? Often, especially when we’re doing a high intensity workout, we might hear our body telling us to slow down. There may be other times we think our body is telling us that we’re working out the kinks, and we’ll be happy and loose any moment now.

So Greatist breaks down what we should be listening for into three main issues. They like the “body is like a car” metaphor – meaning “don’t ignore the engine light coming on.

Sometimes we push our body past a breaking point… and it breaks a little. Overtraining can cause some wide-ranging issues, such as continuous soreness, extreme fatigue, heart abnormalities. It can even cause an immune system to go on the fritz. All of what we already mentioned may be enough for you to know that you’ve been overtraining but you can also check t see how your heart is doing, both in the gym and out. If you are seeing a climbing heart rate at rest, or a level heart rate when you push yourself, your body is saying you need some recovery time to let it catch up. Even top athletes plan for one rest day during the week.

This one is very simple: do not push through the pain. If you are feeling pain, then take a day off. If you are feeling pain for a week, then go see a doctor or your favorite physical therapist. Pain is the most effective way for your body to say, “Please, let’s stop that for now.” Yes, it’s very inspiring to see those sports movies where the athlete stands up with a broken leg and still scores a touchdown — but we assume you will not find yourself in that situation any time soon. If you try and train through the pain, then the pain will get worse.

Missing out on a night sleep is never great, no matter why you were up partying. If you are continually getting sub-optimal sleep then you need to pay attention to why you’re not sleeping… and what is happening during those times when you’re supposed to be awake. Your lack of sleep can be devastating to your day, and it is too important to think you can get away with it by catching up on the weekend (which often doesn’t happen either). Instead you need to see if there is anything else troubling that is accompanying your fitfulness and if this is a psychological issue (very possible, due to depression, stress or clinical anxiety) or if you need to reset your schedule. Look into your caffeine intake, when you are eating, what you are eating, how much time during bed you are dedicating to your iPhone and other issues like that. Try to go to bed earlier, with no distractions, and get up/hit the sack at the same time every night. Then listen to your body again and see if you need to do more or if all you’re hearing is Z’s.