Do you know how sometimes, when you’re not distracted by a dozen other things, you notice something that has been right in front of you for a while? I had this happen to me after my run last Sunday.
I was enjoying my shower – not just taking a shower but revelling in the water hitting my tired muscles – when I also noticed that I was dirty. Now, you think, we shower because we are dirty. But I don’t think we always do; I think we shower because we are accustomed to doing so at regular intervals, much as we eat at appointed times.
I’d run 18 kilometers and was sweaty. My face was gritty with dried sweat and my hair was wet with not-yet-dry sweat. And noticing these things made me think. Much of my life is routine but when I exercise, I need to be cleaned. And, as my body signalled since it had my attention, when I exercise I get hungry. Not bored, so I’ll eat. Or look at the time, I should eat. I get hungry because my body needs the fuel to repair my muscles and continue my activities.
I’ve spent the last week trying to pay more attention to my body’s commentary on exercise. I’ve been reminded of how my sore muscles feel better when they’re used gently and not when they’re rested completely. This seems counter intuitive to my brain but my body is the expert.
And, in the midst of a busy, barely-have-time-to-use-the-bathroom week, my body has reminded me that sitting on my chair all day makes me more tired than getting up and moving around or, gasp, going to the gym. My body seems to know and notice a lot.
On Friday, I read a tweet from @saucony that read, “You can feel sore tomorrow, or you can feel sorry tomorrow. You choose.” I know what my body would choose.
What does your body tell you about exercise?
We’re at my favourite part of the Running Room half-marathon training program: running 16 kilometres and more on Sundays gives me lots of time to warm up and then appreciate the strength of my body. I mentioned a waist-loss challenge last time. That’s not been going well (or at all) but my newest Prevention magazine has a “Shrink your waist” exercise and diet plan that I’m going to try.
Tale of the scale
It’s a bad idea to eat hamburgers and chips on the night before you weigh in. I’m up 3 pounds from Friday, when I was at the same weight as two weeks ago. I kept myself out of restaurants at lunch time – a major challenge for me – over the last couple of weeks. I thought an intuitive eating plan would work for a bit as it did in January but I had no real success. I need more structure, obviously, at least for a while.