If you feel pain, stop

I’ve been a serious athlete all my life, playing in competition in a number of sports. In pickup games, I always went full bore and I was always picked first or second.But sometimes I went too hard and suffered some injuries that kept me sidelined for a while. I used to do curls with 50 pound dumbbells, 22  reps with each arm. My friend once had a flat tire in his 64 Chevrolet Corvair with the engine in the rear. He didn’t have a jack with him so I held up the right rear long enough for him to replace it with a spare.

I had a dozen football scholarships at major schools but I had to make a choice and turn them down since I played my last two years with multiple concussions. The doctor back then would just ask you if you’re OK and send you back out on the field. I knew I would be dead if I continued to play. It took four more years before the pain went away.

Finally I’ve come to the point that I can’t push it or pain will let me know quite dramatically. For those of you who have the same mindset as I used to have, I can only encourage you to think about your goals. If a healthy body and mind is what you’re after, then a good measured workout is all you really need to maintain it. Click on image.

My message is primarily for men because they are slow learners, considering that being a macho man is in our DNA. But if you’ve survived into middle age or beyond, take a little time to consider that some of those body parts will break if you push them past the limit. The doctors will be talking about plastic hips, shoulders, etc. Not good.

(I don’t mean to slight women but they have always been level-headed when competing in sports. However, over the last few decades they have gotten more assertive and become excellent athletes. I’ve played against them and I salute them for their skills. So some of them could use this advice, too.)

If you are training for competition, for example, the Olympics, you may want to push yourself a little harder, trying to get that edge. But if you are of a certain age and your goal is to get into excellent health and look good, set a limit to your workout. After warmups, gentle stretching and short jogging, build up to a vigorous 20 minutes of aerobic exercise, jogging, running, calisthenics or a game of basketball. Your choice. On alternate days use light weights to maintain muscle strength and tone. It’s a good feeling when you’re independent and  don’t need someone to help you around the house with chores and you can take care of yourself.

Remember to stay hydrated with water during your workouts and if you feel a little tightness, for example, in your hamstrings, stop or the pain will stop you-guaranteed. Drink something that will replace the potassium, salt and water lost from your system.

I went through something once that required nonstop action utilizing strength, speed and endurance. After 3.5 hours I had lost almost 14 pounds. Yes. I went to the hospital and was rehydrated. Very painful.

Here’s hoping you can stop before you feel the pain.

Good luck.

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