The 12 Gifts of Fitness
Day 1: ENERGY
Day 2: PATIENCE
Day 3: GETTING REAL
Day 4: KEEPING PROMISES
Day 5: RIGHTING THE SHIP, QUICKLY
[originally published February 20, 2015]
One of the gifts of fitness, and overall good health, that I’ve experienced in recent years is this: when I mess up, my body wastes absolutely no time in telling me so.
Whether through a sleepless night, bad indigestion, fatigue, or other seriously unpleasant symptoms, a healthy body will really let you know when things are not going well. (The opposite, of course, is just as true: if you’re taking care of yourself, your body will absolutely respond with great stuff: high energy, positivity, resting well, the works.)
In other words, when you’re healthy, it’s a lot easier to right the ship when things go wrong, because your body tells you things are going haywire very quickly.
This was not the case back in my unhealthier years. Then, I could sort of get away with eating poorly, in the sense that I really couldn’t tell the difference in my levels of fatigue, etc….because that was all I knew. Fast food every night? Sleepless night. But I never caught the link. I just thought I had insomnia.
I’m appreciative of this particular gift of fitness right now because it’s one thing to know your body and what it needs, but quite another to realize when the rules change (due to injury, illness, or other challenges) that our bodies might start saying funny things to us—things about, say, not taking quite as good care of ourselves as we otherwise would (Examples: “Let’s skip this workout,” “Let’s eat some bubble gum jellybeans”). I’m definitely not saying we shouldn’t listen when our bodies tell us to slow down. But that voice about the bubble gum jellybeans being suddenly such a good idea? That’s the voice we need to remember when we’re oh-so-tempted to take a break from an otherwise healthy lifestyle.
(Full disclosure: That was me, last night. A handful of pure sugar before bed and one really scary nightmare later, my body has definitely communicated its displeasure with that particular nutritional decision. For more on what the U.S. health establishment is now saying about the consumption of excess sugar, check out the latest news from the Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee. Basically, excess refined sugar is really, really not good.)
So, when your body rebels, check out what you’ve been giving it lately. And then, start giving it the good stuff, right then. Exercise. Good nutrition. Rest. And your body will say “thank you,” in all sorts of awesome ways.