EXERCISES ELDERLY

In the preceding chapters we have considered many facets of the mind-body approach to running. In this chapter I will explain the mind-body approach to running injuries. It is simple. As manifest in the likes of Khalid Khannouchi, the mind-body approach to running injuries is to minimize the negative effects of injuries on your enjoyment of running and, to the degree possible, maximize the potential positive effects of injuries on your enjoyment of running. The justification for this mindcentered approach to dealing with problems of the body is derived from the fact that injuries are all but inevitable in the life of a runner. So which would you rather have: an injury that makes you depressed as long as it stays with you or an injury that frustrates you briefly but then ceases to bother you much even before it is fully healed? The reason you are a runner is that you enjoy running. The objective of everything you do as a runner should be to increase or preserve your enjoyment of running. Injuries tend to spoil the fun of running. Preventing injuries is, of course, one way to limit the negative effects of injuries on your fulfillment in running and one that only a fool would not pursue. But no competitive runner is able to prevent every injury, and those runners who, like Khalid Khannouchi, are naturally injury prone can expect to experience more than their fair share of breakdowns. Therefore, learning to be at peace with injury as best you can is a more important and effectual way to minimize the negative consequences of injury on your enjoyment of running than is learning how to prevent them. As Jason Lehmkuhle, a 2:12 marathoner, said in an interview: €œIt has certainly been my experience that if you try to figure it out, you will just drive yourself crazy. I think that you just have to accept that you are probably going to get injured every once in a while. It’s part of the sport. The way that you deal with the injury is probably more important than trying to do everything to prevent injuries. What Lehmkuhle is saying implicitly here is that he prefers to look forward than to look backward or even inward when he’s injured. And the reason he prefers doing so is that it makes him feel less miserable; it lets him enjoy being a runner more. When an injured runner looks backward, he says, €œWhy me? How could this possibly have happened to me? These are very unpleasant and unhelpful sorts of questions to ask. When an injured runner looks inward, he says, €œThis sucks! I’m losing fitness! My goals are vanishing in a puff of smoke! These are very unpleasant and unhelpful things to say. But when an injured runner looks forward, he asks, €œHow can I make the best of this unfortunate situation? What can it teach me about my body or myself? How might it help my running in the long term? These are positive and productive questions to ask, because they come from a place of hope, acceptance, and self-empowerment, whereas looking backward and inward comes from a place of helplessness and victimhood.

EXERCISES ELDERLY

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