Smutty Fitness: Yoga & Prehabilitation
What is KD? I’m assuming it’s a Canadian food or drink that is not healthy but probably delicious and addicting?
And on to my other question #1. How much are aches and pains a part of an active lifestyle (and getting older, alas) and to what degree should they be/can they be ignored and worked through vs. addressed in a more serious way. For example, when I change up my routine and do something new or different and/or get a particularly intense ass-kicking from my trainer, I know and expect to be sore the next day, and honestly, I kind of like it unless it’s too much. But on the other hand, my knees aren’t great so with running I’m careful not to overdo or run two days in a row, and I’ve pretty much accepted that anything beyond a 10K isn’t a great idea and not in my future. For awhile I had hope that the right pair of shoes or the right stretch or the new something or other would be the miracle answer to being able to be a major runner, but I’ve kind of let that go. Still, no matter what, I’m feeling my knees when I go down stairs after a hard work out, though I’m very careful to avoid joint pain and sharp muscle pain while working out. Is that the right idea? Is some level of physical discomfort and pain a fact of life? My trainer says better to hurt (and he means soreness, not injury pain) from being active and working hard than from being sedentary and lazy.
And question #2 is a little connected. I have this fantasy that yoga will change my life and my shoulders and back won’t feel so tight from sitting in front of my computer all day and hauling around a heavy backpack all the time; and maybe yoga will be the thing that keeps my knees from hurting and ease the recurring Achilles strain that I have to monitor closely. But time is limited and I haven’t been able to sacrifice my cardio and weight training/circuit/interval workouts I do with a trainer and on my own. I need and want the calorie burn, even though I sometimes think I’d benefit more from yoga, both mentally and muscularly. Does Hayley have an opinion about this?
Before I get into this there seems to be some confusion as to what I meant in last week’s article when I used the letters KD. I just assumed everyone referred to Kraft Dinner, that horrible macaroni and orange cheese pasta dinner, as KD.
As for aches and pains that come on when you’re active -- if you are willing to put in the work you can be pain free (except for a little post workout muscle soreness which is normal).
There are five main components for fitness: muscular strength, muscular endurance, cardiovascular fitness, body composition and flexibility, all of which deserve equal attention in your fitness regime. The first three, strength, endurance, and cardiovascular fitness, are improved by lifting weights, lifting your body weight and moving your body to get your heart rate up. The fourth, body composition, is improved mainly through your diet and the fifth, flexibility, is improved by doing things like yoga, Pilates, stretching and working with health practioners such as chiropractors, massage therapists and physiotherapists.
I understand your fear of missing your “cardio/calorie burning” workouts because I feel that way all the time. However I cannot stress enough how important it is to take care of your body. The fundamentals of your strength, your power and your overall fitness are core strength and range of motion and you cannot have either without flexibility. You will be faster and you will be stronger if you cut out one of your cardio/personal trainer workouts for a yoga class (or Pilates which is my favourite). All of you who practice yoga and/or Pilates will agree with me that they are tough workouts and building your strength and posture by using your own body weight and resistance is one of the purest ways of building strength. (Madonna and Sting are perfect examples of strength built through yoga.)
So to answer both of your questions, yes you should do yoga. Yoga will help improve your posture, your flexibility and decrease your pain in your body because the more flexible you are the stronger you will be, the better your body can support itself and the more efficiently you will move. You will benefit more from trading in a strength workout for a stretching workout than skipping stretching all together.
And no, your knees should not hurt as you walk downstairs. If you find you are in chronic pain all the time you need to take it a step above yoga and get yourself into physiotherapy, massage therapy or chiropractic care as there is a deeper issue that needs to be dealt with that you will not be able to fix, no matter how much yoga you do. In combining the help of these professionals with your own flexibility training, you can be injury free. Trust me, it is a great feeling.
When you are active you have to give back to your body, just like you have to maintain your car. In my industry we call this prehabilitation, which is one step before rehabilitation. If you take care of your body, how hard you push it is endless but if you do not do what is necessary you will find yourself sitting on the couch unable to move sooner than later.
Attached -- Ellen Pompeo goes for a hike.Photos: