Listening to your body is super important. Believe it or not, it’s telling you things all the time. This morning, my body was telling me I didn’t get enough sleep the night before. Of course, I didn’t realize it until I woke up on the couch an hour after having closed my eyes for a few minutes!!
Oops. Total fail.
How else do your body systems speak to you? In many scenarios, your body is telling you to pay attention multiple times a day. The more in tune you are with yourself, the better you’ll be able to read these signals and do something about it. I’ll go over a few examples below, but I’m sure you may have a ton more of your own.
Muscle soreness & fatigue
We’ve all felt this one a couple days after a tough workout. Sitting on the toilet hurts. Washing your hair hurts. Sitting up in bed hurts. Yup, that’s DOMS for you (Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness). The average person feels sore and takes that as an indication to rest. But this isn’t always the case 90% of the time. DOMS is normal and occurs regularly when you’re starting a new workout program or doing new movements in your workouts.
The BEST thing to do for when you feel a regular amount of muscle fatigue is to workout. I know it sounds totally crazy. But when you’re sore, that means you’re doing something right – your body is changing, your muscles are taking shape. Resting them can make the soreness worse. To get that lactic acid out of your muscles, you need to move them. Waiting until you don’t feel sore anymore will not only delay your progress fitness-wise, but you’ll be just as sore the next time you workout. And DRINK WATER! Nothing helps flush out those toxins better than good ol’ H2O!
You might not feel like working out when your body is screaming at you. But in order for your muscles to stop hating you, you have to get them moving again. Try focusing on a different area of your body than you did the day before. Go for a light run or swim to shake the junk out. Whatever you do, get a good sweat going. The fatigue will go away faster if you do.
The only time you DON’T want to push through pain is if you’ve injured yourself. Trust me, you’ll know if you’ve really hurt yourself somehow. If that’s the case, rest is always best. As well as anti-inflammatories, ice and maybe a call to your doctor.
Raise your hand if you’ve ever reached for caffeine the moment you start feeling tired.
[slowly raises hand]
Been there, done that. Still do that most of the time. But what SHOULD we be reaching for FIRST? Any guesses?
Who said water?! If you did, pat yourself on the back. Many times we mistake exhaustion for dehydration. Other signs of dehydration include headache, dry mouth, decreased urine output, & dry skin. The afternoon lull comes around and we start to feel sleepy and unproductive. So we reach for coffee or soda or energy drinks. In reality, our bodies are feeling dehydrated. So before you head to a vending machine or coffee shop, try drinking 32oz of water and wait another 30-45 minutes. There’s a good chance you’ll be feeling better. If you still feel the need for caffeine, your best bet is always green tea or black coffee. Stay away from sodas and energy drinks.
This is a way that my body screams at me for many reasons. I’m not talking about migraines – that’s an entirely different animal. I am merely talking about those tension headaches that can be caused by a variety of reasons – stress, dehydration (see a theme emerging?), lack of sleep or food, caffeine withdrawal, just to name a few.
The important thing to do is keep track of your headaches, especially if you get them often. Start recognizing what could be the cause. Identify changes in your diet recently or sleep patterns. If your headache is stress-related, make it a point to do some relaxation or yoga or sit quietly in a dark room for 10-20 minutes. Write it down when you get a headache and think about what could be the cause. Do what you can to remediate any problem areas you find in assessing your nutrition, sleep and water intake.
If you take anything away from this, remember that your body is a gift. You have to nourish and protect it so that it can be at its best for you. WATER is the best way to ensure all your systems are on point and at their best!
What are some of the ways unique ways that your body speaks to you?