In this Blog series on “preservation” we will look into physical practice for longevity, aspects such as over-stressing the body and general mindset over training.
Listen to your body
Listening and adhering to the body is one of the most important skills required to become and preserve the athlete you set out to be. This means knowing when to rest and understanding when your body is more susceptible to injury. It is common knowledge that recovery is just as important as training but the mind can often override the body’s desire for rest when such influences as ego and stress are at play. An overly competitive attitude and a sympathetically driven nervous system can lead to an overused and under-performing body which can also become a vicious circle perpetuated by the frustration of poor performance and execution.
Find the balance
Striking the balance between the recreational and vocational life often determines a warrior’s ability to preserve and improve physical performance whilst avoiding unnecessary injury and ailments. The stress imposed on the immune system by both facets of life should be a compromise that doesn’t overwhelm the body’s ability to repair and recover stronger. Given that both work and play can severely challenge the immune system, priorities must be set and training must be adapted. The theory of working out and working in really sums up the concept of exercise being both depletive and restorative with the latter being a great opportunity to wind down the intensity on a tired body and focus on such things as fine movement, skill and the breath.
During the work day the sympathetic nervous system may have been continuously stimulated by an accumulation of small stressors, leaving the body infused with cortisol and the impression of the perfect state for a high intensity workout. However, 20 minutes into your training, the body starts to feel sluggish, weak and jittery, what do you do? Do you listen to the signs and adapt to your internal environment by changing your external environment? Or does the ignorant ego drive the body to a vulnerable state where injury and illness thrive? The warrior adapts and transforms a potentially frustrating and destructive grind into a complementary and productive session.