Take care of your body - it's the only place you've got to live

Take a look at the photo below. Do you see any glaring differences from one side of my body to the other? Can you tell that one shoulder is much more elevated than the other? FREAK! Haha…but seriously, no one’s body is perfectly symmetrical. But for me, based off of this photo I think I have my work cut out for me.

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Through years of sports and dance I have encountered injuries that have always seemed to develop into more chronic issues. Luckily, depending on how you see it, I have never had any acute injuries such as broken bones…yet. Knock on wood! However, sometimes I wish I could trade in my annoying, nagging chronic issues that never have a set end date of 4-6 weeks for a broken bone once in a while.

As an athlete, my body has adapted and healed well enough for me to continue to function and perform as well as I needed it to. Now that my field hockey career is in my past I have decided that I really need to take matters into my own hands and put the work in to moving and feeling my best. Over the last nearly 4 years I have had a partially torn rectus femurs (healed but with some limitations still) and a strained pubic symphysis (currently in the rehab process).  Not at all glamorous and still causing me issues while I write this post.

I have gone to regular physiotherapy and massage therapy as well as pelvic floor physiotherapy, shoutout Totum Life Science and Proactive Pelvic Health Centre, respectively. I have learned so much about my own body over the last few years and months through treatments while I strive to be at my optimal level of functioning.  

Alongside these treatments I discovered the magic of Pilates at Body Harmonics and have incorporated private sessions with an instructor into my routine for the next little while. I cannot believe the difference one session can make in how my body moves and feels. I know I have a long way to go but the key is discipline. Admittedly, this is not something I am great at just yet. On days I am tired I often choose the couch and TV over doing my exercises but when I do them I instantly experience the benefits. I need to make it a habit to continue this practice daily to help improve my body as these chronic injuries have been around for some time now.

So what is the point of all of this for you?

Don’t ignore pain, aches, or limitations in your body. Take care of your body now so it can function optimally for life. Don’t be satisfied with just getting by or having to modify your workouts long term. If something doesn’t feel right get to the root cause. Modifications can be made short term but seek professional help and find movement that will enhance your body. Understand why something feels painful or uncomfortable and strengthen the areas around it to alleviate it. 

I have so many clients who tell me of back pain (insert knee/shoulder/whatever pain), and tell me they know how to modify. But, they continue to come back and have to modify over and over and over again! Your next step should be to understand and create an approach to improve. Maybe there is a limitation in your range of motion, maybe a lack of strength or ability to properly activate a particular body part? You will never know if you don't take the proactive steps to be assessed and treated. Chances are that once you feel the difference between moving well versus moving with pain, ache or modifications, you will be more disciplined in your practice and wish you focused your energy there sooner!

Remember, our bodies are the only place we get to live in on this planet. Treat it with care and respect. Move your body well now so you have the capability of moving it later.

Be fierce.  Be strong.  Be vibrant.

Rachel

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