Tuesday, April 3, 2012

To Work Out OR Not To Work Out – That is the Question!

Yes, I had a bit of a Hamlet moment and got all Shakespearean on you!
Now I have been actively working out for a number of years and I find that listening to my body is the best way to go. I am not a licensed personal trainer or nutritionist just a girl who likes to take care of herself by monitoring what she eats and getting a fair amount of activity in a week. Some people when they just begin a workout regiment don’t really know how to listen to their body and think that you HAVE to work out X-amount of days, regardless of how you feel. That’s now always the case. Whereas on the other side of the fence, we have the folks that make excuses, like the “I’m sick” when they’ve got a stuffy nose. A stuffy nose should not keep you from working out, although a fever should. Please take note it’s recommended that you speak to your doctor before you begin a work-out because due to some health issues doctors may recommend or suggest against certain work out regiments. Now how do you know if you should or should not work out? I’ll give you a few tips.

1) Did you push the limit yesterday?
If you worked out really hard and your body is sore and it hurts to move, bend, lift, etc. don’t go back to the gym, at least not today. See how you feel tomorrow and move forward but don’t make it a permanent stop in your workout regiment. If you’re adamant about getting some sort of activity in, go for a leisurely walk but don’t go crazy at the gym until the pain has subsided.

I have gone REALLY hard at the gym and it hurt to just walk. The thought of getting up out of my chair and walking down the hall at work made me want to cry. Of course, in this instance, it was extreme and I was in no shape to go back to the gym. Due to my pain I wasn’t able to go back to the gym for 3 days, but after those 3 days I was good as new and back to the gym I went. But if you don’t listen to your body and work out even while in pain, you’re only doing more damage. You can significantly hurt yourself, which is not what you are aiming for – right?

While working out your body gives off a number of chemicals which can cause aches and pains. But also, when you work out your muscles can tear, stretch, etc., which may also be the leading cause to your pains. If you’re experiencing this pain it’s suggested you take some ibuprofen and even ice the area that’s bothersome. One of my doctors suggests that I take Tylenol and use Icy Hot on the soreness to help stray away from ibuprofen. The Icy Hot works on specific areas but if I’m just generally sore all over, I don’t want to take an Icy Hot bath. If your stomach can handle ibuprofen, it will help in reducing the aches. Another thing I do is eat a banana. Sounds strange, but sometimes the potassium helps me – but it may not help all.
2) Are you sick? You can work out, but it depends on your symptoms!
If you’ve got a runny nose or a sore throat you are perfectly okay to go to the gym (or if you are more comfortable when sick work out at home). Sure it may be gross walking on a treadmill with a slightly runny nose, but if you carry tissues with you and clean your work out environment before and after use, you will be fine. Believe it or not, working out with a minor cold can actually help you get better and fight the cold off. Don’t make excuses as to why you can’t go because you’re “sick” when a bit of activity will help you in the long run.
Now do you have a fever or significant chest congestion? If so, stay home until you are better. Working out with these symptoms will only make you sicker which is not what you want. So bite the bullet and enjoy your time to relax at home. When you’re back to 100% and these icky symptoms are gone, enjoy your workout!

3) Did you drink too much the night before?
Get some water in your system (2-3 glasses), take a headache reliever if need be and get your butt to the gym! No excuses, play like a champion! Believe it or not, exercise will help get rid of your hangover and it’ll also help make you feel better. The water and the pain reliever will also do its job in aiding to make you feel better. If that’s not enough of a reason for you to get to the gym, think of the calories you could burn off that you had swallowed back the night before. I find from talking to folks so many say “Oh I can’t work out, I drank, too much lactic acid.” Errr, no, you’re an excuse maker!

4) Do you have a pain around one of your joints?
I’ve experienced this and it tends to happen randomly. You’re working out, doing your normal routine when OUCH that hurts! It’s happened to my knee, my elbow and my shoulder. It’s generally triggered by an irritation around that joint. The best case scenario for this is to not do an exercise that affects that particular body part. For instance, if it’s your knee that hurts, you can do upper body but keep away from lower body exercises and cardio workouts. If it’s your elbow or shoulder, do lower body workouts and cardio that don’t make you use your arms. If the pain continues or becomes even more severe it’s best to go to the doctors and make sure you didn’t tear something.

So, as I say … no excuses, play like a champion! That is unless you have a legitimate reason to skip the gym – sickness, pain, etc. Otherwise, keep on that fitness regiment; you’ll be glad you did later!

Do you find yourself making excuses about going to the gym or do you suck it up and go with your eye on the prize?
Do you listen to your body and go along with what is going to work with you that day?

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