Yep, exercise gives you superpowers. Did you know that? Yours might be different than mine. I don't know. But I guarantee you've got at least one and you might not even know it yet. It took me years to recognize mine. Exercise has made me psychic.
Well, kind of...
My workouts are the canary in the coal mine for me when I'm about to get sick. My body has been giving me signals for days before I ever feel the first ache in my head or scratch in my throat. I just needed to notice.
Those signals show-up in my workouts as extreme and quick muscle fatigue. If I'm doing my normal workout and find that my muscles just don't want to cooperate, that's a red flag for me. When things that are normally doable but slightly challenging, feel impossible, I know something's not right. It's more than just not feeling like working out or feeling sleepy. It's more like the first reps of an exercise physically feeling like I've already done 25 of them. My muscles are tired and ready to quit before I've even asked them to do much of anything. Does that make sense?
Exercising regularly is obviously the key to unlocking this particular superpower, because if I don't spend lots of hours of paying attention to how my body normally feels, I can't notice when something is off.
And that's one of the gifts that exercise gives you--the opportunity to be present in your body. I know that when I've been uncomfortable in my body because of my weight, that I got really good at ignoring it. At deliberately not paying attention to how it felt because I didn't like how it looked. Anyone else relate to that?
Getting good at exercise meant that I had to get good at connecting with my body again, at least for that 30-minutes in the gym...
But the thing is, once that connection was made in one part of my life, it got harder and harder to disconnect again outside of the gym. It was kind of like when you buy a new car and you all of a sudden start seeing that car EVERYWHERE. I started to "see" my body in the gym and then I couldn't un-see it outside of the gym.
Okay, okay, so that's not exactly the same as being psychic. But it is a practical benefit to exercise that people don't really mention. After I-don't-know-how-many times of having that fatigue during a workout and then getting sick within a day or two, I finally recognized it for the clue that it was. Now, when it happens I usually stop my workout and behave as I would if I were actually actively sick. I sleep as much as possible; feed my body as many nutrients (fruits and veggies); make sure I'm getting fluids in; and do things that are restorative. Sometimes I don't end up sick; very rarely I do.
I hope there's at least one thing that exercise has given you that's similar, or that you might start thinking about what your exercise superpower is. It's such a great motivator to keep going with your workouts regardless of whether or not they move the needle on your scale.
Take care everyone!