Thursday, April 12, 2012

Never Ignore Pain

Anyone who enjoys being physically active dreads injuries. They have the power to temporarily stop athletes and dancers from doing what they love most, and can often create feelings of helplessness.  I should know, since I pulled my hip flexor last Friday.
 It happened during a run, and the sad part is that it was one of my best runs so far.  The strain in my leg was noticeable for the rest of the day, but I stupidly hoped that it would disappear if I ignored it.  My past experiences as a dancer so obsessed with improving technique that I would continue to work through pain should have taught me that this approach is dangerous and often does more harm than good.  However, I may be guilty of being an unwilling and stubborn student at times.   I tried to pretend that I didn't feel the warning signs my body was sending me to slow down as I walked around all day at the horse races on Saturday.  The following two mornings I persisted in this risky behavior by running.  Not a good idea, because by Monday night my pulled muscle was so weak that I had trouble getting out of a chair.
That was when I realized that I couldn't avoid the truth any longer.  I was injured and would have to take a break.  On Tuesday and Wednesday I skipped my planned workouts, even though I hated to.  Today I was able to do a little bit of Pilates, and tomorrow I might go out for a very easy run.  Obviously the way my leg feels will determine whether or not that actually happens. (Although given my history maybe that isn't so obvious.)
I hope every athlete or dancer who reads this will not follow my example, but will instead give injuries immediate attention.  If I had only allowed myself one day of rest, or even two, maybe my injury would have been milder.  I probably wouldn't have lost any physical fitness, which is one of the reasons why I didn't stop  exercising.  I guess this common worry among exercisers forces us to do things we know aren't healthy.  I'm done with that.  From now on I'm going to be more careful.  

1 comment:

  1. I hope your leg feels better soon, Elizabeth!