We are relentlessly reminded to recognize our strengths and be all YES I CAN because I CAN do anything!
Now don’t get me wrong– I am all for having a positive attitude but we can’t always do everything, especially when it comes to fitness because we all have areas of weakness and limitations.
And that’s okay!
Knowing your limitations is not a negative thing; it’s more like honoring and respecting your own body, knowing what you are capable of and what we can leave for someone else to do instead.
This conversation is brought to you by my near fainting episode which took place in the comfort of my own living room while attempting an at-home yoga practice.
I am disappointed in myself for not thinking to question this yoga routine before doing it since it was new to me.
Just because I can run endless miles and sign up for races at the last-minute does not make me fitness invincible.
Doing something new is just that — new.
We can’t expect to always jump right in to a new type of workout like no big deal just because we are good at something else.
Most importantly, we shouldn’t jump into something new without knowing how our own personal weaknesses and limitations may collide with the basic premises of the workout!
I had no idea that so many yoga positions (with words I can’t even pronounce so I will leave them out) especially vinyasa and power yoga were not recommended for people with low blood pressure!
It’s okay to talk the negative stuff sometimes. It’s okay to list your ailments and weird quirks about your body that make you unable to partake in or at least cautious when it comes to every fitness challenge and trend out there.
Want to hear my weaknesses?
I have low blood pressure with the tendency to get dizzy and faint.
This does not affect me often but that’s probably because I know in my day-to-day routine how to keep it at bay.
I read this article from Runner’s World about running races with your period.
It’s terrific information about how our hormones affect us all month-long and even tries to tell you that running a race with your period isn’t as bad as you think but for me, it just doesn’t work and I must remember that.
My blood pressure is affected by the hormonal shift, the loss of blood and even by the pain. The symptoms are always unpredictable, not always bad but forever my variable.
It’s my limitation. My body taught me a lesson at last year’s Fitness Magazine Half and since then, I don’t mess around with it because running a race with the chance of not feeling my best or even worse, fainting on the course is just not worth it to me.
I have to be careful with upper body exercises.
My right arm can be really sensitive from the nerve damage I experienced after having the shingles virus in 2009.
Stress, strenuous workouts or lack of sleep would cause my arm to ache in a terrible nerve pain kind of way.
Since switching to a vegetarian diet in 2012, the nerve pain that would run up and down my arm pretty much disappeared (removing animal protein from my diet removed inflammation which can affect the nerves – who knew?) but I remain conscious of the fact that any extra exertion can hurt my arm and I don’t want to be hurt.
And then there’s my left shoulder. If you remember, I randomly (and mysteriously) injured my shoulder in April 2013 and I never ever want to feel that pain again. It was so awful!
I am grateful that the pain/injury never returned but maybe that is because I am really cautious when it comes to the weights that I lift (hi, ten pound free weights on a good day!)
I don’t care to push my luck, even if it means my arms will never be arms of steel.
Even when recognizing our weaknesses, I don’t think it’s always possible to know how a new workout may affect us before trying it.
In that case, there are some steps to take to limit the chance of injury or falling on our faces:
1. Know your body!
Take into consideration all past injuries, sore spots, flexible spots, strengths, weaknesses and weird occurrences that can’t be explained but you know about yourself and consider them a possible source of limitation.
2. Take the class before trying the at-home version!
I do just fine with the Pure Barre DVD’s at home but that’s because I took a ton of classes in the Pure Barre Studio!
I was able to receive feedback and help with my positioning from the Pure Barre instructors.
They took the time to explain the equipment and techniques before we even began.
I never would have known what tucking was or if I was doing it properly without their help.
If I had injuries or sensitive areas, they were there to show me how to modify the pose which is not something you can always figure out yourself from home.
3. If something doesn’t feel right, STOP!
If your knee hurts even though you don’t have a knee issue, STOP before you create one.
If a position does not feel right, it may not be right for your body even if you don’t have reason for it to not feel right.
If you are dizzy and/or nauseous, STOP!
If a workout feels wrong, and I don’t mean tough or challenging, I mean wrong as in something is telling you this is not a good idea — you STOP.
4. To google or not to google?!
We all google but the results that appear are not always accurate advice.
Even if the search engines reveal quality information, we need to be able to sort through and apply it correctly.
I googled every combination of why did yoga make me dizzy and I found so many articles about yoga and low blood pressure.
But it was quite conflicting. I certainly came across a ton of information confirming that I had no business doing the flow that I did yet many articles also suggested the same/similar poses to alleviate low blood pressure!
I overwhelmed myself with the information and decided not to look anything else up on the internet.
If I have a serious question going forward, I will consult someone I can actually speak to who is some sort of expert in the area of my interest.
A yoga instructor, a personal trainer, running coach, elite runner….
And even while doing all of that, so much is still left to trial and error which means we must remember to listen to our own bodies and honor what it is telling us.
We are all different. What works for someone else may not work for you, even if the statistics from google and the experts claim that it should.
Go ahead, complain to me. What are your weaknesses? What are your weird ailments?