I get a lot of pleasure and feel very privileged to hear so much about my clients' life but of course my special interest is their physical activities, their sport and their challenges in particular. I am intrigued as to why some seem to feel the need to torture themselves. I listen to descriptions of the icy rain in their face as they cycled into the wind up a 6:1 incline as the fog came down, starving, cold and exhausted they promise themselves, 'never again will I enter this damn event'. Yet that client will enter the same thing next year and again be on my couch complaining.
On questioning them most will say that if they don't enter the event they will not be motivated to do the many hours of gruelling painful training and the long winter of spin classes. "But can't you find an exercise class that is fun", I say and "can't you ride out with friend on a sunny weekend and have a good time? Why the pain?".
I am using cycling as an example but the same could be applied to other events. Do something that suits you, do something you enjoy and it will not be such a painful chore. Am I being illogical? Maybe there is an element of sadomasochism in these people that has to be fed?
I was therefore well chuffed with one particular client. Madge was inclined to overdo all her activities and come in to the clinic injured over and over. I talked her into going for a good walk and at least for a while forget the abs classes, the bodypump and the half marathons. Madge leaves near Arthur's seat and therefore has the opportunity to make the walk as strenuous as she likes. She took my advice, noting her time and getting faster and faster each time. She was able to involve her young family at the weekends and missed her outings if something prevented her.
Then something wonderful happened. She had the sudden urge to run a bit. Walking was easy, her body wanted more. She did just 2 mins and stopped, out of breathe. But her runs got longer each time.
Then one day after 10 mins running she thought, "well, I am 10 mins from home, I could push on". I was thinking, "oh no! She is going to tell me that she has injured something". But no, her new found ability to listen to her body clicked in, she slowed down. Madge is still improving, still enjoying herself, still not injured. Way to go Madge!
Exercise needn't be about pain, it shouldn't be punishment and it shouldn't be an addiction - it should be a pleasure.