October 25th, 2022
Your body is a very intelligent machine. It tells you when something is wrong via pain or other discomforts, and it lets you know when you need rest.
Listening to your body can help you figure out what you need to do to reach your goals, achieve optimal health, and feel good. So, let’s explore this topic a little further! Why should you listen to your body? What should you know?
The Truth: We Are Really Good at Ignoring Our Bodies
Society tends to train us to just “carry on” when we don’t feel good. Maybe we pop an Advil to get through the workday. Or say “yes” to every opportunity that presents itself despite feeling exhausted.
At the end of the day, we often ignore our bodies because we think we should be able to control them. However, mind-body awareness is essential to improve our fitness and health vitality. It results in us learning and understanding ourselves and our bodies more.
Ultimately, ignoring any pain or fatigue may result in injury or illness—and even a major dissatisfaction with life. So, what can you do to get better at listening to your body?
How to Listen to Your Body Better
Listening to your body is as simple as taking moments of pause to reflect and think about what you’re feeling or how your body feels. For example, if you’re sitting in a chair right now, ask yourself: Am I feeling tightness anywhere? Is any joint feeling achy?
We recommend bringing this level of mindfulness into your workouts. If, for instance, your shoulder is feeling tight, you can warm that area up more thoroughly than usual and maybe even modify your workload. Doing so will help prevent injury and keep you moving towards your goals.
But there’s more! Here are a few other ways to learn to listen to your body better.
Understand What Your Body Needs to Heal
Knowing what your body needs to feel good can improve your life and health in more ways than one. If you’re not sure how to do this, try these quick tips:
- Notice when you feel stiff, tired, or more sore than usual
- Notice your energy levels
- Feel it out by trying gentle movements if you’re unsure
- Try meditation to improve the mind-body connection!
- Keep track of what works and what doesn’t
Know When It’s Time to Rest
There are various things that can impact your energy levels, with the main one being how you sleep. Each day evaluate how well you slept. Do you need more sleep? More time to recover? If so, an easy workout or gentle movement might be best for today.
When you feel tired, your body is telling you your nervous system is feeling overtaxed. This means it needs time to recover.
Another thing to note here as to whether you’re in recovery mode or not is your appetite. If you’re feeling more hungry than usual, it might be good to rest as opposed to push yourself in an intense workout session.
Lastly, take note of any other symptoms you feel. If you’re feeling sick, such as indigestion, headaches, or congestion, rest is what you need. This allows your body to put energy toward healing so you can return to your regular programming as quickly and as safely as possible.
Taking this time to rest might look like:
- Performing active rest. This may include going for a walk, using a foam roller, stretching, performing stability and balance exercises, or performing any other gentle movement that doesn’t get your heart rate up but gets your blood flowing.
- Using heat to passively treat any aches or pains. This may include using sauna therapy, using a heat pack, hot tubing, or simply heading outside and sitting in the sun.
- Taking a nap. The 20-minute power nap can help you feel revitalized and re-energized.
- Focusing on your nutrition. Ensure you’re eating a balanced and supportive diet with a good combination of carbs, fats, and proteins. If you’re unsure how to do this, our trainers at Nielsen Fitness are nutrition certified and can help you figure out the best foods for your goals and your body.
- Celebrating how far you’ve come. Rest can also look like socializing and celebrating the accomplishments you’ve already achieved. This further can add purpose to your workouts!
Take Care of Yourself
When you listen to your body, you will begin to notice things that you might not have otherwise noticed. You will become more in tune with what your body needs and how to obtain that. For instance, taking care of yourself might look like a night at home on the couch watching Netflix, or it could involve going for a walk after dinner. When you’re more aware, you’ll know what to do and how to keep your body in tip-top shape.
If you need a bit more help, our team at Nielsen Fitness is here to provide the support you need. For the best personal trainers in Toronto, look no further than our experienced, friendly, and reliable team.