Last week I talked about one of the two questions I always ask Kelly when she comes in for a session. Today I talk about the other question,” How far have you run or biked since I last saw you?”. Now you are probably thinking, that’s seems like a pretty reasonable, expected question from your trainer or coach right? But what I think might surprise is you why I ask Kelly that question. Sure, part of the reason I ask her is because I want to know what she has been doing with her body. I want to know if tightness or patterns I see in her movement are from her biking and running or if they are more related to what is going on in her body from her Crohns and Fibromyalgia.
More important than what is going on physically in her body, I ask Kelly that question because I want to know how she is doing from an emotional state. You see Kelly, like many people with chronic diseases deals with depression and anxiety on a regular basis and it’s not something she likes to talk about (who does?). She has figured out though that movement and exercise can help her better deal with these issues and often turns to them as a health tool. In so many ways…this is amazing! There are a lot of choices and options of how to deal with depression, anxiety and stress in your life and exercise is definitely a pretty positive one!
The only down side to using exercise is that sometimes( Ok..many times!) Kelly over does it. In an attempt to feel better emotionally she runs 10 miles or bikes 50 and then her physical body pays the toll for it in the days after. One of the many reasons I think Pilates has been so great for Kelly is that she can get the emotional benefits of a movement practice without all of the harsh effects of hours of running or biking.
So what do I do as Kelly’s teacher when she tells me she ran a half marathon the day before? I usually try to do what I would call a “listen to your body” movement session. We slow down, we listen to what her body is telling her and me and we try to do things that it needs.
This is my attempt as a teacher to help Kelly figure out how to listen to her own body. My attempt to help her figure out that she is so much more capable than she realizes at figuring out what her body needs and giving her permission to do whatever that is. Giving permission seems like a funny phrase when it comes to movement, but I think it’s appropriate. I think so many people feel like there is a rule book of what you need to do to be in shape, be healthy and fit. The only rule is you listening to your body and doing what works for you, what makes your body and life feel the best.