Let’s be honest. No one really likes to work out. You sweat, your muscles get fatigued, really uncomfortably fatigued, you get thirsty, you’re hot and then you’re sore for the next 2-3 days. But here’s the great news! Those are all the ways your body is telling you that you are:
- Burning excess calories!
- Building strong bones!
- Conditioning a healthier heart!
- Growing strong muscles!
We want this type of communication from our body. What we don’t want is a sharp pain, a pulled muscle or a torn tendon. As an exercising motivational speaker who still teaches classes I am constantly reminding my students to use good form, rest when they need to rest and stop the move if it gives them pain. Injury is a sure fire way to sidetrack our New Year’s Resolutions of getting in better shape.
Here are some reminders for all my Cyber Students:
Warm Up – (Music: She Works Hard for her Money) Marching, walking, light jogging, shallow squatting, step-touching, circling arms. There, we just did a Polly warm-up! This is so important to do to lubricate the joints, increase the internal body temperature, slightly increase the heart rate and get the muscles warmer and moving in preparation for larger, faster or more weight resistance moves.
Muscle Fatigue – (Music: Smooth Criminal) This comes on gradually and with repetition (unless you’re curling 25 lb. barbells then it's with the first rep!). We want muscle fatigue. That means we are pushing our muscles beyond their normal strength limits. What’s happening is microscopic tears in the muscle tissue. Ew! When the body repairs those tears, it lays down another layer of protein like a band aid and as a result you grow a stronger and slightly bigger muscle.
Muscle Cramp – (Music: James Brown’s intro to Get Up Offa That Thing, “Owww!”) Cramps happen when you ask a muscle to repeat or hold a move that it’s not accustomed to performing on a daily basis. Example: I was walking around Ann Taylor in the most divine 4” black heels, on sale, to see if the balls and toes of my feet would be comfy. The balls and toes were fine but since I NEVER wear 4” heels both of my calves cramped up on me and almost took me down! I bought the shoes, of course.
Pain – (Music: Any Soprano Opera Solo's last note) This is sharp and instantaneous. STOP THE MOVE! Usually a pulled tendon (see why to warm-up above) or a range of motion that a joint does not like. Never work through pain. This move is not for you. Ice it when you get home.
Understanding the difference in these will keep you on an injury-free path to a stronger, more flexible, better balanced, less stressed, shaplier calved and healthier you!