written by Carol Crincoli, Pure Pilates Director
When teaching, I frequently cue my students to “listen to your body.” It’s important to remember that if we stop to listen, our bodies are willing to tell us what we need. This doesn’t just pertain to movement and exercise, but also when our bodies are in need of food, rest and even connection.
I love the idea of having longer days, when spring is approaching and our clocks “spring forward” into daylight savings, but it wreaks havoc on my body. March 15th was National Napping day. How convenient that it was scheduled for the Monday after we lost an hour of precious sleep. I proudly took a nap! I had a full schedule of things to do, but I gave myself 30 minutes to rest.
According to the Mayo Clinic, a 10 to 20 minute nap is a good amount of time to refresh without becoming groggy. Napping, for healthy adults can reduce fatigue and increase alertness but did you ever consider that this reset can increase your performance when it comes to reaction time and better memory?
After my siesta, my brain was refreshed and I could focus, but my body was fatigued. Big plans for an intense spin and weight training was replaced with gentle Pilates, foam roller release and stretching. I was listening.
So, is being sleepy easier for you to identify than other signals your body is trying to tell you? For example, when it comes to your workouts, do you ever mute your brain and hit autopilot? There is nothing wrong with turning on your favorite podcast or playlist and “checking out” for 20 or 30 minutes to run, spin or simply sweat it out. I actually have “autopilot” workouts at the ready for when I need them. But in order to understand what my body needs, I need to stop and listen. My body always responds. Sometimes I may not like the answer, but my movement is a truth teller and it doesn’t lie to me.
When you’ve been sitting at your desk too long, does your body beg you to get out of your chair and move? Like a drooping plant that is thirsty for water, our bodies are sending out signals all the time. And our bodies, like plants, need care. Physical activity actually lubricates and nourishes our joints by increasing the circulation of synovial fluids to the area!
You already feed your body with water and food, so add some sunlight, plenty of fresh air and daily movement and you’ve given yourself a lovely gift. Just listen. Your body is saying thank you.