Rest…

When pregnant with Sophia I swam almost every day about a mile each time. I love to recount the story of how we had a one hour swim fundraiser at the Maryland Farms YMCA in Brentwood, TN. Troy thought he would kick my butt because it was a week before my due date. Well I kept at a nice and steady pregnancy pace and kicked his butt!!! I can’t recall the exact amount anymore I’m sure I have the sheet somewhere but I know I still have that first place award for my age group. I was happily not the only pregnant one competing in this event and oh that other pregnant lady, she was about 6 months pregnant and also beat Troy! I swam so much folks thought I was going to have a water birth – the other lady has and she’s a hero of mine in that way with her home births because now in a way I’d like to have a home birth, not a water birth but still…well that’s a whole other story. My point is that I was active through out pregnancy and it was well worth it. Yet you do learn every time and looking back I learned that I didn’t want to be induced again.
Pregnancy number 2 with Tedy, I stayed active and did lots of Zumba and taught a ton of swim lessons. With Zumba the bigger I got the more I geared things down but I still was having fun especially with another pregnant lady in class with me (side note I even have a good friend that taught Zumba during her pregnancy). What I learned after his birth was that I didn’t want to have an epidural again.
After Tedy was born I started marathon training (want some seriously funny blog posts go back to 2010 and check those out) and in a way I think it helped me keep my sanity while Troy was gone.
When I was pregnant with Ceci I ran way more than ever before. I felt amazing. I even did a bunch of races during that pregnancy. What annoyed me the most were the folks telling me to stop running because I was pregnant – obviously I didn’t listen. What I listened to was my body! I was sure to run at a comfortable enough pace where I could easily talk or if I was alone I’d run ad sing to help control my heart rate and keep it in a good zone. I got a ton of crazy looks back then and again there were lots of nay-Sayers. Let me tell you though my doctor never said I should stop. I also did a ton of squats! Well Ceci was a week late and the toughest part was the mental game. I am so happy that I wasn’t induced and I didn’t have an epidural. Now I feel like it might be in my best interest to have a home birth but we will cross that bridge if we ever have another child.
The week after Ceci was born I started running again. I had even more nay-Sayers…oh you should rest…why?!? Why should I rest now?!? My husband is gone so I need the mental break that running gives me, I ran throughout my entire pregnancy and felt amazing so why stop now?!? It just didn’t make sense to me! Obviously I didn’t listen to them and kept listening to my body.
When Ceci was 6ish months old I completed 39.3 miles in 2 days by doing the Goofy Challenge at Disney. My goal had been to finish and I’m glad that was my only goal because I rolled my ankle during the first mile of the first day so I still had 39 miles ahead of me. Some people would have called it quits but I didn’t. I did “rest” in my own way by icing my ankle after the half marathon and by having fun and enjoying the pool with my family. Then for the marathon I was sure to tape my ankle. When we returned from Disney I went to the doctor and ugh it was a frustrating appointment. I got some crazy looks from the doctor and no guidance as to what to do. All I got was an annoying ankle brace with a video to watch. That brace sucked by the way but I wore it and I “rested” but something did not feel right inside. Luckily we went to Georgia Game Changers and attended a clinic with Mark Cucazzella. He recommended the book: Anatomy for Runners – Unlocking Your Athletic Potential for Health, Speed, and Injury Prevention by Jay Dicharry MPT, SCS. Yes I’m mentioning that book again because I’ve been learning so much from it and it’s got my wheels moving (aka my brain has been thinking a ton). I’m going to share with you a piece of what it says about rest because it made me feel much better about my gut instinct on rest and why I’m a huge advocate for listening to your body!

Rest doesn’t fix problems. What does it do in each tissue?
Bone – weakens collagen structure and mineral density.
Capsule – shrinks it, increases resistance to movement.
Ligament – decreases cross-links, decreases tensile strength.
Tendon – disorganized collagen, decreases tensile strength.
Muscle – decreases contractile proteins.
Cartilage – causes swelling and weakens binding agents.

Since none of those sound like good things, how so you improve tissue?
Bone – slight increase in compression/vibration to increase mineral density and strength.
Capsule – mobilization through activity in the physiologic range with manual work if needed.
Ligament – progressive tensile stress in the line of force (loading as mic as you can under controlled conditions).
Tendon – progressive eccentric strengthening to improve the organization of collagen fibers – goal to improve strain distribution and strength.
Muscle – low-load exercise to induce metabolic adaptations, then alter speed and force of contraction to recruit different motor units.
Cartilage – moderate loads through available ROM.

Ok folks do not get mad but I’m going to be mean for a moment here…stop telling me to rest! Stop telling yourself to rest! As in stop taking it to the extremes! I’ve noticed on the Biggest Loser that there is always at least one contestant that used injury as an excuse and then took resting to the extreme. I’ve noticed way too many women use pregnancy as an excuse and again take rest to an extreme. I’ve also seen too many people, in particular some family members which breaks my heart even more because I love them and care about them but am so frustrated by them that they use hypothyroid or this or that or blah blah blah blah the excuses go on and on and they take rest to the extreme. Yesterday I blogged a little about my issues and hey I guess I could use them as an excuse and ya know what in a way I do – I use them as an excuse to exercise. Seriously folks I’ve seen the results in my own blood tests…working out is good for you! If you get injured don’t just rest, figure out how to make yourself healthier and how to recover. Note I am not by any means saying go out and run a 10k. I’m saying that you need to listen to your body. I am fortunate to be surrounded by amazing physical therapist resources that have helped me with this injury. They’ve given me exercise tips, how to tape my ankle tips, etc. Seek out those resources! Do the 30 minutes of exercise daily! It doesn’t have to be cross-fit but get out there and do something! It can be as simple as playing with your kids! Not everyone wants to go out and do triathlons like I do but everyone should want to be healthier! Everyone should want the amazing feelings that having a healthier lifestyle gives you! So please make it simple – go have fun – get out there in whatever way you can but by golly stop with the mental games of “rest”.

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