Monday, August 26, 2013
Years ago when I took dance as a college class, my teacher would occasionally make cautionary comments to students..........."you're efforting." I knew what she meant at the time. Basically it means that you are straining You are not letting your body do the movement. You are forcing. You are trying too hard. You are tensing muscles that don't need to be tensed to perform the movement. This comment popped in my head recently when I was trying to figure out why I had so much ongoing soreness. I had determined that the soreness was not really in my joints or my muscles as much as the connective tissues........ligaments and tendons. I now think that straining/overuse through dance classes, tumbling, and cheerleading may have made me vulnerable. (Plus there is the overuse through repetitive movements of yardwork and deskwork). I have always needed to do more stretching than others. Maybe it was the "efforting" while I was making the movement that had to be undone later. Maybe it is because I tended to be naturally flexible in my joints.
Maybe I just have weakened connective tissue for some unknown reason. Maybe it's from years of overuse. I did read that there is less blood supply to connective tissue, so I am working on warming up & cooling down. Maybe I have a mild case of adult onset fibromyalgia. (I made that one up). I really thought everyone felt like I did. I felt like saying.....you mean you don't feel sore and hurt all the time? My friends never said anything about how they ached all the time. I just assumed that they did. I think it is something that is personal to me that I am just going to have to accept and work with.
While I don't think that I really have any disease or serious condition, I do think that I have strained them, in the past and more recently. There are five underlying issues recently that proved to be a problem. It seems to me that clearly stating and understanding the problem almost dictates the solution.
One is that I had noticed that cardio had improved my mood. Although this was true to a point, I had somehow decided that if I did it even MORE, then I'd be even HAPPIER! Well, more and more leads to strain and overuse. And, if a person has previously overused a body part, then they are vulnerable. Pain, stiffness, & soreness makes a person crabby, not perky and bubbly. Instead, it makes a setback and possible depression.
Two is the pressure of competition. Yes, I walked a 5k and felt good about it. Yes, I stayed with in my comfort zone and it was easy. But in the back of my mind there was the sense that.........if I were really fit I'd be running. Or at least walking faster. Or at least walking farther. More....more....more. Also, reading Spark blogs reporting all the successes........
well, I just felt that I didn't measure up. So, again, I pushed myself in the walking.
And tried out exercise equipment at the park and pushed and pushed because.........
well, my friend has a personal trainer and he pushes her. Wow, she's doing squats, lunges, and lifting 40 pounds over her head. I must really be a dud.
Three is the influence of the "Extreme Makeover." I started watching those programs which imply that unless you are an extreme athlete, you will be doomed to being obese. The show that I had been watching is on Tuesday nights. I never watched the show with Jillian because 2 minutes of her snotty, superior attitude had me changing the channel. The one that I started watching is with Chris Powell, a much nicer guy. But I really take exception with the extreme physical demands that he puts on people. He trained one girl to run about a mile and shortly thereafter made her run a marathon. I do understand pushing people off the couch, but this goes way past that.
Four is that, since we all seem to agree that cardio and strength training are a must, if some is good.......MORE must be better! More activity = more calories burned.
Five is a vague sense/awareness of holding large muscle groups in a tensed state as being braced for some type of onslaught. It is as if there is so much out there to be afraid of that one cannot ever fully relax. One must always be on guard. At any moment something might pounce on me and do me harm! Where did this come from? No wonder I am withdrawing
and becoming more and more of a hermit. Wow, that is a bit of a revelation to me as I am writing this. I better work on that. Suggestions welcome on this one.
More is not necessarily better. One size does not fit all. We need to accommodate our own body with it's unique make-up and problems and make choices. We don't have to be athletes to lose weight and be healthy. We need to monitor our behavior and our thoughts to make sure we are looking out for our own best interests.
Right now I am scaling back a little. Soreness, stiffness, and fatigue forced me to do that anyway!
I am working on eliminating the "efforting" both mentally and physically.
The most effective technique I have found so far is to consciously relax my muscles.
If I notice tension anywhere, I relax that muscle group.
I'd better get over my pride. I'd better acknowledge my physical problem and work around it, heal it if I can.
I am modifying and tailoring my activity to my individual needs based on an understanding of who I am emotionally and physically.