My Story of Pain
I’ve been training people for over 20 years now. Almost always they were several years older than me. They inevitably would come in with or end up with minor aches and pains. Being completely transparent and honest, I thought it was because they had not been taking care of their bodies for the previous 20 years or so. Full disclosure, I thought I would not deal with this issue because I had been taking care of my body. And then it happened. There I was, 39 3/4 years old,(several years ago, I mean from now;) painting a “Go Shox” sign to put in my business windows. I had been painting for about 2-3 hours, down on the floor in a hunched over position.
As I stood up, my low back felt a little stiff. For as long as I can remember I had been able to sit in that position with no residual effects. Four weeks, later I was still sore/stiff. I arrogantly thought “this is not supposed to happen to me.” ” I stretch and workout daily.” Well, it turns out as you get older you’re going to have some pain, the key is to not let it become chronic. As I have checked around, most trainers are in more pain than I. I believe it’s because most of them have pushed themselves a lot harder and were a lot more aggressive in their training styles. I didn’t push as hard because I learned in college that our bodies are in a constant state of degradation. If you’ve read any of my other blogs you’ll know that I can’t help but use analogy/metaphors to get my point across. So without further ado. If the car you received only had one set of tires for life would you take it to the nearest parking lot and do burnouts? In other words, if you don’t have commercial deals for the next several months because you’re the new fresh-faced teen Olympian, you should not be training like one.
So how do you avoid or at least minimize this prize of pain you get for being older? 2 ways.
Number one, you stop training like a moron! Maybe that was a little harsh. You see, as you age, your body doesn’t recover like it used to so repetitive motions will eventually cause you pain. You need to mix up the way you’re training. Don’t just be a runner or weightlifter or yogi or Barresta (new word alert-this is when you become a Barre disciple and refuse to do other things) (Just for the record I’m not picking on Barre practitioners I just saw an opportunity to make a new word and took it.) And don’t train so hard. Notice I didn’t say you shouldn’t train hard because you do have to do enough for your body to recognize that it was challenged. Most of us are really training to get healthier and look and feel better.
Number two, you need to sit less and move more. Think about how much sitting you may be doing during the day. For most, it’s hours and hours. We sleep for roughly eight hours. Then we sit and eat breakfast before we drive to work (more sitting). Next, we sit for eight hours at work typically, drive home and sit down for dinner. Then we finish with some more sitting in front of the TV before we go lie in the bed. I’m not saying this is everybody but I would bet it’s the majority. You’re conditioning your body to be in this semi fetal position for hours daily. Then when you go to move, your body has not been conditioned to move.
Along with mixing up your workout routine and less sitting, you will need a recovery plan. I know, you never needed a recovery plan when you were a kid. You could just jump off your house, not break your leg and move to a full sprint. Ahhh… those were the days. Welcome back to now! You’re older and need to respect that fact when training. Be smart. If your 20 yr old trainer tells you to sprint towards a 36″ box and vault over it, just pat him on the head and say no thanks.
I’m currently studying some techniques to get rid of pain utilizing a series of hard rubber balls. As we age, our muscular tissue begins to dry out and not move as smoothly as it once did. So this is where the above-mentioned tools come in. If you can use these to roll the fluid in other parts of the tissue into the parts that have temporarily dried out, things will run smoother. If your muscles, tendons, and ligaments run smoother, your”car” will feel less like your driving with the emergency brake on. Driving with the emergency brake on is generally not seen as good practice. I kind of like cars which is why every analogy keeps coming back to cars.
In conclusion, don’t let pain stop you from exercising. Just get smarter about what you’re doing or my favorite, simply hire someone who can help you avoid or relieve the pains.