Just days before my friend Dave Frost suffered a heart attack and died, he had an interesting discussion with me regarding the power of listening to your body. He had read an article in the Wall Street Journal, where it was explained that listening to your body’s signals can help you avoid risk factors associated with high blood pressure and cardiovascular disease. I had also written an article about this topic in the previous year. Here’s what I said then: “There are two kinds of people in the world. Those who listen to their bodies and those who ignore them.”
In both articles I was speaking to people who were doing fitness training or had been doing fitness training. I asked each individual to consider the fitness activities they were engaged in on a daily basis and then asked them why they were still doing that fitness activity. The answer was surprisingly simple. It really wasn’t about the physical aspect of fitness at all; rather it was more about using their minds in a different way.
For many people their body is a very loud alarm that signals when something is wrong. To hear their body meant to hear the chaos that was going on inside. It’s like the voice shouting into the ear; it’s not communicating with the person but rather shocking and intimidating them. Similarly, listening to your body means to hear yourself to change and respond to what you are doing. It really is communicating with your body.
You might even think that there is some benefit to be had by ignoring your body. After all, the purpose of fitness training is to work your muscles so that they become strong and flexible. By ignoring your body you are ignoring one of the most important aspects of fitness training. You’re ignoring one of the most obvious signals that there is a problem with you. How could ignore your body have any negative impact on you?
Listen carefully. When you listen to your body, you will soon begin to understand how it reacts. You will soon start to see that the things that were upsetting it before are no longer so. If you were to ignore your body when you were in the middle of a fitness training session you would soon find yourself in tears. This is not a great result from your fitness training program!
Your fitness goals are much easier to achieve if you listen to your body and see how it is responding. Instead of shouting and yelling into the ear, let your body do it for you. Tell it what you need and see what it does. If you need more motivation to tell your body. Make sure that it knows that you need help. If you do this on a consistent basis, you will see improvements in all areas of your fitness program.