Exercise…Oh, Ouch, Oh My!
Is that you after starting an exercise program? Could it be that years of pushing the remote button haven’t kept you as fit as you’d hoped and the ensuing frenzy of doing too much too fast caused you to lose interest? Before getting into why we hurt, let’s see what we can do about not causing problems and the resulting symptoms.
Are your abdominal muscles sore from doing too many sit-ups? Before deciding you’re doomed to look like Jabba the Hutt , and making things worse by going into a state of depression, try approaching the problem differently. While sitting at the table, stuck in a traffic jam, anywhere it isn’t necessary to be alert or make much sense (does talking mindlessly on the cell phone qualify?), tighten the abdominal and chest muscles for 20 to 30 seconds and then relax them. Wait for 10 or 15 seconds, tighten them again and then relax. You can do that as many as you feel necessary, keeping in mind if you do too many you’ll be back to “Oh Ouch, Oh My.”
By combining that with an exercise known as Keggles, you can tone and strengthen all the muscles in the pelvic bowl, abdomen and chest, and without anyone knowing what you’re up to. At first it may take a little practice to appear nonchalant, but consider it a challenge; the rewards will be worth it. Since there’s more to Keggles than just tightening your muscles for 20 to 30 seconds, and the information is readily available, finding it will test how interested in improving your health and fitness you really are. The complete exercise can be found at the library or by doing an Internet search.
You say you have no time to exercise? Would you consider washing dishes or working at the bench in the garage while toning the legs, hips, and lower back muscles, plus improving your balance and coordination at the same time, to be worth while? If so, with your feet shoulder width apart and knees slightly bent, try rising up on your toes and rocking back on your heels the next time you’re standing at the sink, at your garage bench or when just hanging out. Slicing veggies and making a salad at the counter can also be a good time to work on improving your fitness.
Doing the following at your place of employment may not work out but, if you have jobs that require you to stand in one place for long periods, try standing on one foot and then the other. Rock back and forth from toes to heels, bend the knees, raise one leg out to the side and then alternate legs. Use your imagination! Staying fit isn’t just about blood, sweat and tears at the gym, you can be fit and healthy almost anywhere, almost anytime.
Being stiff and sore from excesses are symptoms and can have many causes. One thing we need to keep in mind is; muscles are more easily conditioned and brought up to strength than tendons, and tendons heal much more slowly when we abuse them. Tendinitis can be a long and painful ordeal.
When we exercise and experience muscle soreness, it’s usually because we’ve made micro-tears in the muscle fibers. This is a somewhat necessary evil: going overboard isn’t. When the tear is repaired, muscle size and strength increase. Slight discomfort, and seeing slow gains over a long period of time, is more acceptable than being stiff, sore, in a lot of pain then quitting and realizing no gains.
Overdoing exercise can have the same stress responses on the body as walking face first into a Black Widow’s web in the dark. (Bears and lions are over used and not something most of us have had personal experience with anyway). No matter the stressor, the reaction can still be the same.
Under stress, certain body functions shut down in order to channel energy to areas more in need during fright, flight or fight. Stress, including overly stressful exercise, releases hormones and other chemicals into the bloodstream. Upkeep, maintenance and rebuilding are put on hold until the current emergency is resolved. Digestion, removal of waste, flushing of free radicals and toxins from the cells and muscles cease. Waste products in the muscles can become toxic, shut off oxygen to the muscle and cause an occurrence in the affected muscle similar to a mini-stroke.
In the repair scenario, damaged muscle fiber is patched and rebuilt. If we overdo, a small portion of the muscle can die and we develop micro-lesions of necrotic (dead) tissue or cicatrix (scars). When that happens, there’s the possibility of an ulcer like occurrence in the muscle, inflexible scar tissue forming with future tears at its edges and the body expending large amounts of energy disposing of dead tissue. All of which leaves us more tired and with less energy at the cellular level for repair and fat elimination.