Smell that Spring air? Getting that urge to fire up your exercise again? Me too! Yup, it’s about that time when the weather transitions out of the doldrums of winter and sparks the desire to get outside and get active. As your activity increased, your body will begin to talk to you and give you important information about how it is responding. So listen to your body, train with your brain, and heed the messages it is sending you to maximize your effort and stay safe. Pay special attention to these two messages.
Signal 1: Ouch!
Probably the most educational message your body will send you, “Ouch!” should never be ignored since doing so can lead to chronic or even permanent damage. Explore “ouch” as soon as it happens.
- If “ouch” is immediate and during exercise, then STOP, and resume at a much lower intensity to see if comes on again. If so, then stop and find another exercise or quit for the day. It’s better to stop now and collect some info than push through and make it your last workout for a while.
- If “ouch” comes on slowly with exercise and subsides when exercise ceases, and is a “burning” sensation within the muscles, then this is normal and indicates your body is out of its comfort zone and working hard. This kind of “ouch” is constructive, but monitor its intensity level – especially if you are just getting back into exercise.
- If “ouch” shows up in the next day or two after exercise as mild soreness and/or stiffness in the muscles and joints, then be encouraged. Your body is telling you that your activity was challenging and it’s healing nicely. Compliment your hard work with rest and recovery resources such as light exercise to loosen up, good hydration to replenish body fluids, and quality protein and veggies for joint and muscle repair and improvement. Nice work!
Signal 2: Yay!
This signal is the reason we exercise in the first place. “Yay!” usually shows up at the beginning of a workout as you get going, but then disappears in the middle during the tough parts when things aren’t so fun but the work is getting done. Then, “yay” reappears at the end when your work is done, and is attached to the satisfaction of hard work accomplished, and lingers in the form of improved physical condition. Booyah! Let’s do it again!
So strap on your fitness shoes, opt for those shorter sleeves, and get your body moving this spring, but make sure to train smart and listen to your body signals. Balance your desire to be active with sensibility and wisdom to stay safe, improve your condition, and keep moving forward with no set-backs. Enjoy your spring!