Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Hurts so good

What is your favorite way to exercise?  Is it running because you can feel the wind in your hair?  Is it pumping iron because you can see yourself as Arnold Schwarzenegger?  Maybe you love yoga because you can bend into a pretzel?  Whatever it is that gets you up and at 'em is the key to maintenance.  By this I mean, maintaining a routine of physical activity.  But here's the thing...what don't you like? What we don't like is usually a good indicator of what is weak in our bodies that need a little extra attention.  Here's one that will initially hurt like the dickens but it's one WE all need. Sit with your feet flexed on your heels. 

Or grab a foam roller and roll out on your IT band.  When you find your sore spot, hang out for 30 seconds to let the tightness release.  Most people are rather tight, whether they work out or not.  Dancers are typically more flexible and bending down to touch their toes takes little to no effort.  If you lift weights, you're the type that usually skips the stretching portion of the routine.  STOP AND STRETCH, YOU FOOL!  You'll be glad you did.  Whatever muscle is the tightest and therefore hurts the most when stretched, that's the muscle you should pay attention to.  

I've rambled onto the importance of stretching.  The point of this post is to work (i.e. strengthen or stretch) what hurts or is weak.  For me it's my hip flexors.  I am very open in my hips and as a result they are very weak.  Trying to extend my legs forward for any amount of time KILLS!  I immediately want to bend my legs to take the strain off my psoas (fancy for hip flexors).  I know I need to strengthen them.  I regularly incorporate stretching into my workouts, so for me adding hip flexor strengthening exercises is a MUST, especially because I don't like the way it feels.

Now there is a very important distinction between strengthening weak muscles and hurting yourself. Say for example you have a bad back.  PLEASE DO NOT GO OUT AND EXERCISE YOUR BACK THINKING YOU WILL HELP IT!  Think about the opposite muscle.  If you have a bad back, your CORE needs strengthening.  Adding some Pilates core work into your routine will help strengthen what is weak and therefore you will rely LESS on your back doing most of the work.  Try it! 

Just tell yourself it will hurt sooooo....good :)  And then play John Cougar Mellencamp's song on your ipod.


Freda Gore said...

Great Post, I enjoy walking as my best form of exercise, however I am thinking of joining a Zumba class love dancing and music

Savvy Foodies said...

I love Zumba, too! That's a great way to blast off calories. I find the hour goes super fast :) Keep on dancing!