Are you a sloth or a speed racer?

I was reading today about a young professional cyclist, Michael Goolaerts, age 23, who was on his 109th km of bicycle racing during his first Paris – Roubaix professional road race, when he suffered a cardiorespiratory arrest, fell off his bike into a ditch by the road and lay unresponsive on the ground. He died later that evening. That is incredibly sad. My heart goes out to his family, friends, and those that knew this young man. Yes he was doing something he loved when he died, but no one expects to die at 23. It could have been an unknown pre existing heart condition. It is too early to tell.

It was then out of some curious interest, I found myself googling how many professional cyclists had died during a race. There was 115 since they began recording such details. If you include those that died while training for the races it is closer to 150. That is a lot,

As a novice rider, at first I found myself quite alarmed by these facts. They were professionals, if they died, the cautious me, is screaming, what the heck am I doing on the road even on my trike? OK settle down, I told myself sternly. For many years, helmets weren’t even being worn. I also know, that flying down the road at high speed, just won’t happen if a bike is in my control. There is always potential for those freak accidents though.

As it happens a lot of things can be potentially unsafe. Crossing the road, has been hazardous to me recently, yet I still do it daily. Just this weekend, there was a horrific bus crash carrying a young Canadian hockey team, 17 people perished, last time that I checked. It could be potentially more. People don’t just stop driving.

Any day, could be potentially your last, with the odds adjusting depending on what you are doing at any moment. My dear father told me, that I must live every day, and I do. Filling the days with joy, movement, friendship and laughter, as best as I can.

While my thoughts were still actively dancing in my head, I couldn’t help but wonder. Are we in more potential danger when we choose to stay still, rather than “ GET A MOVE ON “ ? Yes, actually I think that might be more true, than we want ourselves to believe.

When I hurt too much to move, I could have easily given a sloth, a run for it’s money. My body did it’s best, but began loosing the battle, at a somewhat alarming rate. It doesn’t matter, that I had every justification to continue sitting still. The medical profession sanctioned my stillness. If I was any stiller I would have been dead. Only my loved ones, could have told the difference, I was a death, waiting to happen.

Fortunately, it didn’t happen, or I wouldn’t be writing this right now. A note of warning from someone, who came dangerously close to reaching the point of no return, when your body no longer performs the functions to sustain life, but begins to prepare for death.

Fortunately, our bodies are generally far more forgiving, than we probably deserve. Thank goodness for that. Even the then challenging move of lying on the ground lifting my legs a mere 1 millimetre off of the ground, made a difference.

The one thing I told myself, right from the very beginning of my health recovery, was , It took a long time, to get as bad as I got, so I can’t expect things to turn around quickly. I became committed to the long haul, and for most things, the change was far quicker than I could have ever hoped for.

As for the life long things that I have never been able to do, well they are taking considerably longer. In my bodies defence however, we are now on stuff that I have never done. Some things never worked correctly since birth. My calves were a knotted mess. Is just one example. It hurt, even when I touched them. Now, with prolonged effort, and Harley’s determination to get things functioning as they should, I now have done a seated calf lift of over 100 lbs and can actually walk on my tip toes.

That may seem like no big deal , but it is. Even if I just state the obvious, being able to stand on my tip toes without risking a fall, allows me to reach more cupboard content without grabbing a chair, or asking for help. All humour aside, it is more than the reach potential. It means that my body has created a far more supportive network structure. It helps my balance, I don’t get the horrible cramps that I got regularly since birth either. I even bet there are more things I can do now, because they are starting to work, than I have even thought of. Abilities are waiting to be discovered.

At the end of the day, are you more of a sloth, or a speed racer? Either, can get you killed , when you stop and think about it. Actually I am somewhere in the middle, no longer am I a sloth, nor am I being scouted for any Olympic speed event of any kind, in any sport. I will say, I am far more a movement girl, than that still one I used to be. Still finding my wings to soar. I do know this though, My body has worked very hard to keep me alive. Sometimes, without much help from me, and now, I am listening to my body, and working hard, to give my body what it needs to keep doing a good job, It continues to be a winning combination.

Why I continue to spend money on a personal trainer

In our current economic climate, when we always seem to be looking for ways to cut costs, one thing that remains in my budget is a personal trainer. Why is that? The answer is simple really, I think I am worth it. Self care, pure and simple.

Personal trainers aren’t just for the elite or celebrity wanna be’s. They are a great wellness tool for everyone. The already fit people among us, continue to get fitter, while those of us that are unhealthy, can make great strides to regain lost health. Wouldn’t you love to have, being unhealthy, a thing of the past. Even the already healthy, can keep things ticking along nicely with a good fitness plan.

Here are my top reasons why I continue to have a personal trainer

The exercise program is created around individual abilities and builds from there. No cookie cutter one program fits all mentality

I want my better health to continue

Dr visits become much less frequent

You become more in tune with what is going on in your own body

Feel more alive, able and independent

I am less likely to slip back into poor habits

Great resource for how to overcome many health issues

Regular exercise is a natural stress reliever

They can really motivate.

Regain old abilities, and create new ones. The phrase “ you can’t teach an old dog new tricks” doesn’t apply to people

Your body appreciates the attention.

Less potential for injury. Who hasn’t overdone it from time to time. A trainer knows, when to scale back and when to ramp things up.

You are pushed harder than you would do when you are going it alone

Lose weight naturally, increase metabolism, strengthen bones

IT FEELS FABULOUS TO FEEL GOOD

Choosing a trainer is a personal thing, they aren’t all created equal. Find someone that is truly invested in your success. They shouldn’t just dial it in. A knowledgeable person is essential. The other absolute necessity is communication. That creates a strong foundation on which to attain your health goals. Be honest, they are not mind readers, tell them if something is working, or if something isn’t. They need to know that. If you are getting bored, don’t just give up and look elsewhere. They literally have hundreds of exercises in their arsenal. If one isn’t to your liking, they will have a different one that can get the same job done.

Give them a chance. It is easy to not know why they are getting you to do an exercise, that you don’t particularly like. Don’t just refuse to do it, it is likely a movement your body will thank you for in the long run. You don’t need them to be your best friend, that doesn’t mean they can’t become friends over time. Find someone that you can enjoy spending the time with. If you don’t, it will just be one of the reasons or should I say excuses you use to stop.

Just like any professional, you are paying for their expertise. Allow them the courtesy to do their job. When I was left to my own devises, my health was in serious jeopardy. Under the care of my personal trainer though, I am now thriving. That to me, is worth everything. I happily spend money now on prevention, rather than medication. It is really a no brainer to me, now that I know better.

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When the body and mind disconnect

 

I have been having pain for a few days that had really grabbed my attention. Pain has a way of grabbing our attention, like nothing else can, right? This one was somewhere new, the back of my knee. This particular knee has had multiple surgeries, so I am quite accustomed to different pings and pangs. This wasn’t ordinary, in the decades that I have been dealing with this, the back of my knee had always managed to avoid agitation. That is, until now.

The pain was sharp, demanding, and lingering. I did the usual stuff that I do when that happens, and got nowhere. I thought about all the things I have done, over the last few days that might have caused it, and was confident that no one thing was to blame. Blame really is a wasted mental effort, after all, it is the resolution that counts.

Previously, I would have stayed home, and vegetated on the sofa, either listening to music, or mindlessly watching the television. Firmly believing that a few days rest would absolutely take care of it. The current, slightly wiser me, knew this was exactly the time, to avoid the couch, get to the gym, and check in with Harley. He is, after all, my man with a plan.

He was very quick to agree, that my right leg had become very tense. Most likely,I thought because it HURT. No one wants to make themselves hurt. In fact, we would be most unusual, if we did not do everything in our power to avoid it. So we tense up, a natural reaction, but one that only seems to serve to make matters worse.

He asked me to really concentrate on making a certain muscle work, it was an exercise that we had done countless times before, so I knew what he was asking for. I thought of nothing else other than the movement,. My mind was literally as empty as an amusement park in a hurricane. I was only thinking of the task at hand, and the movement that had been requested. Repeatedly, I tried in vain to engage the muscle. There was nothing.

So what was I missing? My mind was present, my brain knew the move, and my body made the motion. What more could anyone want? The exercise was becoming futile. Was coming to the gym a waste of time after all? On the verge of giving up, I thought this is ridiculous, I would say I was more mildly frustrated, than annoyed by this point, but the scales were about to tip, if something didn’t happen. Now what ???? I hurt, the offending muscle was playing hide and seek, and we were going around in circles, ending up as we were when we started.

Then instinctively I started back at the very beginning. It resembled those times when you have to retrace your steps, when you are looking and looking for some misplaced treasure. Then you discover it, right back where you thought it was all along, even though you would have sworn, that you checked there with a fine tooth comb. What do you know, suddenly the muscle fired like a fine sports car ready for action. What the heck just happened? Why didn’t it do that in the first place? Once the correct muscle took on the work load, my pain dissipated. Without pain medication. The angry muscles that had tighten around the problem area released, returning to their regular duties. I could move properly. Hallelujah, peace was restored.

The moral of this story is this

Sometimes in life, it isn’t about keeping going, doing the same things over and over again, to no ones satisfaction. It becomes about stripping things down and starting from the very beginning again, as though you had never done something before.

Often we need our mind, body and spirit harmoniously committed to one another. When either one checks out, nothing happens. We might think something is going on, however just as surely as your computer doesn’t work without a wi if signal, nothing gets accomplished.

This small example, goes deeper than getting a muscle working. In the bigger picture, it is easy to keep doing something the same way, either because it has worked in the past, or maybe, that’s just the only way you know how to do something. It takes something else entirely to take things down to the foundation, look at the situation with fresh eyes, and be brave enough to begin again.

At the end of the day, when things hurt, do your best to be brave, take stock of what isn’t working, and be prepared to make changes, even back to the beginning if you need to. In order to be our best selves, sometimes the universe has to align to make that happen. The body, mind, and spirit need to be re synced on occasion. For if any one is missing, the journey becomes increasingly more difficult.