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Secrets of Rejuvenation #12: know your body

September 3rd, 2010 Leave a comment Go to comments

I’ve found that knowing how my body functions best is key to overall health. However, this doesn’t mean “my body craves chocolate” or “I’m not good at sports”, as those statements would relate more to my mind, habits and choices than my body. No, I’m talking about how my body functions best, based on actual performance data. To wit:

1) I tend to be rather stiff in the morning, 2) in a squash match, I tend to lose the early games and win the later games, 3) even though I may start a workout by dragging my sorry butt into the gym, after a squash warmup, I can run for a half-hour, do some weights, and I’m not tired yet and 4) It takes me a while to get flexible. Combining this experiential data with some test results, namely 5) I have a resting heart rate well below 60 and 6) I have a body temperature below normal indicates that I probably need to warm up more than other people.

So, “big deal”, you say. Yeah, it is, to me, because my old idea of physical exertion was that I would begin with 100% of my available reserves, and working out would only deplete them and tire me out. (Sure, I expected an increase of reserves from workout to workout.) Now, I see things differently: my energy actually increases as I work out, to a point where I need to really push it to get tired, which of course, I eventually do. “Lucky bastard”, you say. Maybe, but that doesn’t matter. “Big deal, then”, you say. Yes it can be, because I’m addressing those of us who believe they are walking around with the most energy they’ll have that day, and exerting themselves will only make themselves feel worse.

(Well … maybe if you’re carrying a lot of weight and everyday tasks make you lose your breath, then fine, but that’s a function of your current level of fitness.)

So I should reframe it: know your body as it is right now. Get some data. Do some physical stuff. But you have to sweat, otherwise the data isn’t very meaningful. Then, push yourself a bit at a time to see just what you can do. Refine and repeat, no?

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  1. June 27th, 2019 at 23:51 | #1

    While it’s been a few years since you’ve posted this, you seem to have learned all those messages your body sends to us especially in the morning or at the start of an exercise routine. I’d be interested in knowing how you are almost 9 years later! I’ll check out other articles and see if there are current updates. Thanks!

  2. SteveR
    June 28th, 2019 at 09:37 | #2

    @Trish B Hi Trish! Thanks very much for your comment. Yeah, it’s been a while. I’ve gotten into the habit of writing down blog ideas on my phone as they come, but without actually committing them to blog posts. I think there are at least a hundred ideas to flesh out, which is quite daunting!
    Nevertheless, I’ll write a post updating this one. Short answer at this time? The assessment of my body still holds: my RHR is around 54, and I need to warm up before squash. But after losing 25 pounds, working out (more) seriously and tuning my squash game, it takes much less time to get my head into the game.
    I’m also finding that it’s a good idea to do just about everything that “they” say we should do, from eating wholesome foods, to exercising, and following the TCM practice of prevention and maintenance. But if I adopt five new habits, it’s easier to stay on track when I let one or two of them slip, that is, if I don’t work out for a week, I still have good eating habits down. Or if I go out to eat, it’s not so hard to work out hard the next day.
    But … as I get more fit, I have to work harder to sweat and get my HR up. I suppose that’s good, in that it feels more “Rocky” to bust my ass when fitter, than when I was a schlub. Cue the training montage music!
    So what’s your story?

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