My friend M is in great shape. She eats right, has healthy habits and exercises regularly. Sounds great, right?

In theory, it is. She is doing what she can to take care of her body, something we all should be doing.

But…

As exercise can be trying on our bodies as we get older, she occasionally gets hurt. All athletes, armchair or otherwise, risk injury occasionally. We move just a little bit funny, and WHAM. Injury. I stepped funny off a curb and I twisted my knee ever so slightly, my husband was playing kickball with his friends and pulled something running to first base. Injuries happen. But if you get a physical injury, what’s the best thing to do?

As I’m not a Doctor, I won’t tell you how to heal your injury. But I can tell you what to be wary of: not giving your body enough down time so that the injury begins to heal. I know this is decent advice because my friend M never gives her injuries the proper rest and she ends up hurting herself more.

M and I see each other once a month for either theater or museum or movie dates. When I saw her a few weeks ago, she was limping. This has become her new look: getting injured in Pilates, taking one day off, then injuring herself again. What was once my most in shape, healthy friend has become my friend most likely to hobble or need physical therapy. As with all things, too much of anything can be a bad thing.

None of us like to admit that we are getting older, that our bodies don’t quite do the things we want or need them to do. But it’s OK to stop occasionally, or even just slow down. It’s OK to listen to our bodies when they are tired or sore- my friend getting injured every week is a message to her that she needs to take it easy once in awhile. We need to balance out the healthy food and the exercise with the other things it takes to make us physically and mentally strong. Listen to the clues your mind and body are sending to you- they’re as important as any health regimen. If you don’t treat your specific mind and body right, it’s not going to matter how many chia seeds you eat.

46 thoughts on “Take a Break

  1. I could be wrong, but it sounds to me like your friend is addicted to exercising. She feels she MUST exercise no matter what and therefore doesn’t give herself the downtime she needs to heal. She is compelled to exercise. It also sounds like she doesn’t go to the doctor to get her injuries checked. If she did, it stands to reason that her doctor would tell her to stay off her feet for X amount of days. In my opinion this is a mental thing as much as a physical thing. Perhaps she needs a wake up call.

    I remember a few years back I got on a speed walking kick. I HAD to walk every day. It became a thing. And then one day I had awful pains in my foot/ heel. I saw my doctor who said it was planter fasciitis. It was crazy painful. The doc gave me some foot/heel exercises to do to help. But even basic walking caused shooting pains. I hobbled for weeks. Since then I learned that MODERATION is key. I got it again more recently when I had a short remission period in between chemotherapy . Even though I thought I was careful not to over do, I went from being up too sick in chemo to exercise at all to suddenly being out of treatment and wanting to go back to a healthy exercise routine . Well… my body rebelled. We have to listen to our bodies. In this case it wasn’t my age but inconsistency in my movement schedule. ..going from sick and immobile to healthy again. It was still too much for my body to handle. Our bodies let’s us know when we abuse or over use it. And as we get older we need to listen to those aches and pains. Not just in exercising but for everything.
    ( I often wonder if I hadn’t ignored certain aches and pains would my cancer had been stage one not stage three). I dunno. But what I do know is that when I have good periods in my treatment I’m so excited I Start walking again . But, subconsciously I try to catch up . The last time I did that I got plantar fasciitis again. So I was told by my doctor to take it slow. DON’T Exercise every day. Yes, exercise is healthy but too much strain on your body one’s body is NOT productive.

    I realize for me it’s different. The only marathon I need to win is cancer. So obviously I Need to save my energy for that. But in general we all need to listen to our bodies. If it keeps breaking down then that’s a red flag.
    Your friend needs a check up. And a therapist perhaps to discuss why she’s compelled to over using and hurting her body and not giving it time to heal. What is she accomplishing? Why is she afraid to lighten her exercise load. Maybe she’s got a medical condition causing injuries and it’s going undiagnosed. In any case, she’s abusing her body.

    We only have one body and we MUST care for it.. If it gives out, we die. So all the exercise in the world isn’t going to help if your friend ignores the warnings and mistreats her body.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. She’s totally addicted to exercise, and she does go to the doctor, she just doesn’t listen to the doctor and follow their advice. I yell at her every time I see her limping or rubbing her arm or whatever

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      1. Well, at least you try to be helpful. That’s all you can do. Sometimes people are their own worst enemies. I truly hope there is not a more serious underlying condition. You have enough on your plate. So just keep being a good friend and telling her what you think. That’s about all you can do other than dragging her to a shrink. But, it’s gotta be painful for you to see your friend going downhill from her exercise addiction. So sorry.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. LA That’s rather sad. It’s almost as if those accessories ( cane, sling, etc.) have become her awards or medals of honor for her commitment to exercise. It kind of reminds me of the song from the play, A Chorus Line, “What I did for Love.”

        Liked by 2 people

  2. I agree with the comments above (still can’t “like” comments, but by signing in every time I can still comment so that’s good). I would add that part of wanting to exercise, beside the mantra that exercise is good for you–and in moderation it is–is that when you are not injured, exercise really can make you feel better. I love walking; it boosts my spirits. Strength training–not so much.🤪

    Liked by 2 people

  3. We need recovery time. After I joined the Y, I immediately jumped into two barres classes a week, two days of lap swimming and one of pickleball. I bent down to pick up a ball and bam! I pulled a muscle. This time around, I’m starting with two days of lap swimming along with my walks and will slowly add to the schedule.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. As everyone else has said, you are so right, LA. The good news is that, until you’re closer to 80 than 70 and arthritis has captured your joints, sticking to the rule of RICE usually does the trick with all the soft tissue injuries that pop up: Rest, Ice, Compression, Elevation. I usually add ibuprofen to the end of the list! 😏

    Liked by 1 person

  5. You’re exactly right – now that I’m older I know too well that it takes much longer to recover from an injury. I hurt my leg walking and had to wait a month before I could get out there again. Pushing to get back out there too soon only makes things worse (tried that).

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  6. My sister and I both have back trouble – but in different forms. She’s in pain a lot of the time, takes painkillers and keeps on doing what’s causing the pain. I suffer from muscle spasms, which are painful in the moment, then leave me weak and struggling to stay upright. I don’t take painkillers, I do keep moving, but I modify what I’m doing until the muscles are strong enough to cope once more. I’ve also learned that they are certain things which my body is saying “enough, you’re told old/injured/not strong enough” to do, and I listen. My sister does not listen to her body. I’ve learned to accept it’s just another way that we’re different. I don’t imagine your friend will change – which is both sad and frustrating for you.

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  7. Having just stepped off a curb and rolled my ankle two weeks ago, while still dealing with pulled muscles from our recent move, I feel your pain. Literally.

    Growing older sucks. It’s definitely smart to be aware of your limitations and slow down. This is why we will be hiring professional movers next time, even if we’re just headed across town. I’m not going to risk further injury at this point, costs be damned.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Kinda sounds like M is addicted to exercise! It’s a “thing.” Entrepreneur is bad about overdoing physical activity and not giving himself time to recover. I started hot yoga and found entire muscle groups I never knew I had…. that need time between sessions to recover, for sure!

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  9. I don’t think you’ve read my most recent post which ended with me dropping a hint re my physical limitations. Here’s the link

    My newest start may be in October

    I saw the doc here in Nashville and got the expected news that my left hip should be replaced for the same reason my right one was done 5 years ago: osteoarthritis, that very common condition of the aged. Fittingly, it flared up after I had FINALLY got back to walking as exercise/meditation. I’m looking forward to getting it done and having a better outcome than what happened with my right.

    Fortunately, the new doc “learned” from what I told him about that surgery and its less-than-satisfying result. Over and above that, he had some new ideas about some possible fixes to said prior outcome.

    Unlike your friend, I’ve never been one to push exercise too far. As a senior citizen, I just want to get back to the level I was at when I was a younger senior citizen, though it was before I was Medicare-eligible. I learned a lot from that previous experience, including having what I hope is a still realistic expectation for a better and easier to get (as a “real” senior citizen) result.

    Liked by 1 person

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