There is this exercise concept called “Listening to Your Body“.
In technical terms, I think it means one should go easy on exercising whenever he feels the body needs a little break. That way, no serious damage is inflicted physically and no angst is endured mentally. And, believe me, I’m in wholehearted agreement with this principle, what with foolish injuries sustained from running half-marathons while nursing sore knees, to lifting weights while nursing a sore back.
However, I do at times abuse this “Listening to Your Body” philosophy. I invoke it whenever the temperature is too low to wake up early and hit the gym, or the stress too high to get off my backside and hit the pavement.
That’s right. Despite my tremendous passion for running, there ARE occasions when even I, the Jogging Dad, want to skip a run, all in the name of “Listening to Your Body“. The truth of the matter, I hate to admit, is that it is invariably just an excuse. A very good excuse, mind you, one with a ring of Confucian legitimacy to it and virtually impervious to criticism. But it is still just an excuse, at the end of the day, to hide the fact that I just feel too lazy to go for a run.
Luckily, I manage to redeem myself most of the times that I feel this way, by invoking another, less well-known, exercise philosophy called “To hell with it, I’m going for a run anyway“. And in most instances, I knew I made the right decision as soon as the open air hits my face and my joggers hit the ground.
You see, I sometimes confuse the “Body” bit with the “Mind” when I try to apply the “Listening to Your Body” principle. Rather than listening to genuine signals transmitted by my body, I succumb to voices transmitted by my mind. And the latter quite often tries to take the easy way out by planting phantom seeds of doubts in the former (“Ooh, that muscle tinge in my thigh, that could be serious. Let’s listen to my body and give the jog a rest today. Now where’s that TV remote and my donuts?“).
So, please, by all means, Listen to Your Body when it comes to exercising. Just make sure it IS the body that you are listening to, as opposed to your mind talking over it. After all, the body is capable of so much more than you think and, in most cases, is only limited by what’s going on inside the head. And if you’re a struggling parent like me with children, you know there’s always plenty going on inside the head!
Keep on pounding.