I glanced out the window taking a break from my writing. I was as per usual, hanging at my fav coffee cave and enjoying some caffeine, some socializing, and with a goal of getting a new blog post written.
Some days I’m more successful at some parts of that combination than others 😉
What caught my eye was a group of kids running around and all over the place in a field that was on the other side of the parking lot. Part of me wanted to just go out and join them …to shake the kinks out of my body from my time in the chair writing. The cool part was knowing I still had the abilities to do it if I wanted to crash their fun afternoon romp in the sun.
I decided I should behave myself and focus on getting my writing done for the day and not running around the field like an over grown kid .. I choked back a giggle imagining their faces if I just joined them 😛
Watching them though got me to thinking about our lives as adults… what happens that we stop running and being vigorous ? When do we get to a point that the idea of it seems funny and like it’s something only left for kids to do ? Like running and using our bodies isn’t a total natural thing we should be able to do for a good long time…if not a life time ?
You know why?
We stop using them like they were designed for. We get lazier and less interested in moving around fast, much less running. Then at some point we start viewing running as an activity that a select group of crazy people doing in varying distances.
We look at running as an activity in a separate bubble that doesn’t apply to us anymore. True, some get older and have health problems that arise or some issue that truly keeps them from being that active.
But overall, we simply stop moving that way. We lose the ability/desire to do it.
However, for some of us, we find it again. We find the pure, natural joy of running again as grown ups, and we embrace it, perhaps in a way we never appreciated as a child.
I did. I was in my mid-40’s when I somehow evolved into a runner.
Go freaking figure.
Questions that are often posed to me.. “Oh, so you must’ve run in school?”, ” were you athletic in school?” “have you always run?”
No, no, and no.
I simply changed from a fast walker to running… in some ways I found it easier than fast walking.
But however it occurred, it started to get in my blood. It was my exercise, my therapy, my way to clear my head and process creative thoughts. It could also be my escape when I needed to retreat from moments in life that felt heavy.
Needless to say when an injury took me out of it last year, I felt frustrated and angry to not be able to pursue what had become my passion.
I have been slowly working my way back up. I’ve spent time on the road doing lots of fast walking. I’ve been trying to do things that will promote healing and let me go after it full speed and mega miles again. I’ve also done strength training and cycling to help work me in different ways while keeping me strong and keeping my cardio levels where I want them to be.
One of the biggest things that has helped is basically learning to be more aggressive with the things I do BEFORE and AFTER I’m active.
Rolling, stretching, some yoga moves, etc all are contributing to helping me get back out there the way I want to be.
This is what I want to remind you of if you’re a runner or engage in pretty serious physical activity… the things we do before and after matter a lot to keeping our bodies strong and healthy for the activities we love.
I always joked that running was as simple as tossing on your shoes and taking off, and it is.
But there needs to be some time to prepare your body for that activity to let it get loosened up, or to help it unwind afterwards. This was a part I was missing. Oh yeah, I did a little warming up, but not the rolling and stretching I’m factoring in now.
So I offer up some “tools of the trade” that I have found helpful and use before I workout, after I work out and usually in the evenings watching tv
The foam roller. A handy tool to roll out most of your body. It’s great for even rolling up your back and shoulders. It’s a great way to loosen things up. The negative to foam is it can start getting “soft” and losing it’s healing abilities. Make sure you change it out frequently if it doesn’t have the same firmness.
I don’t use foam much anymore since the Airrosti clinic got me rolling on a pvc pipe. Yes…a pipe… a hard pipe like what water runs through. In the beginning it was definitely an adjustment but they told me my muscles would adapt to foam and the pipe would be more aggressive to working out tight hard muscles.
Yikes they were right and now I hands down prefer it over foam. It doesn’t give under my weight so I can really work my muscles into it.
A lacrosse ball. It’s great for feet. I use it constantly to really work into the tight areas. It’s also great for getting specifically into a muscle that needs some serious attention. It can be ridiculously painful in a good way… like make you whimper and cry kinda way… but it’s good
A plain old kitchen rolling pin. You can use it to work into the backs of your calves or other small areas that feel tight.
Yoga. Ok I’m far from an expert or yoga guru, but I do have a few go to moves that I took home from some classes. Learn a few basic stretches to help keep you loose.
Besides all of that I learned it’s important to stretch my feet, ankles, and toes…yes…toes! Go figure, but it actually feels good and with the impact feet take from running, stretching all those ligaments and muscles not only helps, it feels good.
Yes, running is fun and hard and rewarding and on many levels, just natural and easy. Taking a few extra steps to warming up and cooling down will hopefully keep you and I on the road for a long time to come.
Tell me, do you have any tips or tricks to keep your body healthy and well for running or other physical activities?