Saturday, September 26, 2009

No pain no gain

On occasion when physical limits are pushed muscle soreness is the result. As fitness enthusiasts we have perhaps learned to recognize this discomfort as it relates to muscle fiber adaptation. While this experience may feel unpleasant, and perhaps painful, it may have a positive impact on total well-being. I was reminded of these physical and emotional sensations today during my last few challenging repetitions. Certainly, we must consider our health history, our age, our physical limitations and our desired goals, before considering how far down the rabbit hole we want to go.

In examining delayed onset muscle soreness pain, for example, we can hold to be that there are at least three ways that this suffering may be a gain. Firstly, there is value in stretching one’s physical boundaries, in that here, in the challenge, lies the potential for improvement and growth. Moving through a threshold, now, helps us diminish future obstacles. Secondly, “ is this not how we learn our boundaries?” Given that physical stress is a warning that there is disharmony, or possibly, an impending insult, this line of demarcation serves to define a physical boundary. It clearly delineates where we have been, and what, perhaps, we have not physically experienced. Thirdly, if we give up when faced with a challenge we can never know whether further effort, either harder, or differently, might have succeeded in a greater gain. We will never know what is down our rabbit hole.
I am lazy, especially when there is an easy way or a more difficult right way. My healthy self must always be vigilant in overcoming this inertia. I also have an innate need to achieve because I know my tendancy to drag my feet. So the need helps push me along. The cool thing about passion, like with Julia Child's cooking, is that it pulls you to your goal or vision. It is less painful to be pulled than pushed. My passion for maintaining a healthy body, mind, and spirit does pull me and make my path less resistant, but the bottom line is I have to choose to suffer the pain of discipline for my greater good.

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