Since my adolescence years and especially the years after my studies, I have been suffering from all kinds of injuries. I have literally experienced every common leg/foot and hand/arm sport injury in the book. From simple but persistent and nagging shin splints, IT band, metatarsalgia to Rotator Cuff Syndrome, bicep and shoulder tendinitis and sprain muscles.
Chin up bars, grippers, boxing, cycling, trail running, hiking, judo, jiu-jitsu and every sport I could lay my hands on left marks on my body over the years. But I’ve never visit a specialist, not even once; for some propably stupid reason I refused to ask opinions or ways of treatments from a certified doctor or therapist, I wanted to treat it my way. I never took pills, never put creams either. I don’t claim that I did the right thing, but I know for sure that I’ve manage to learn few things about injuries along the way. Through the hard way of researching for ours the web and being patient not to make it relapse by working it too soon, I’ve tried to treat my wretched limbs using reason, online data and my body’s voice. And I’ve achieved nothing more than some precious knowledge . I don’t want to bother you with too much info because every injury is different and I don’t try to be the specialist here. I only share my view on the subject which is admittedly very subjective. So, lets try to boil down to the gist of the matter. The cause of injury. Or rather what kind of body is injury- bulletproof. In the next lines I will try to sort the qualities of a injury resistant body.
1. The kind of body that is not pushed too much too soon. Every activity is exercised in the most gradual way. If you have not much experience on trail running for instance, try it on the tiniest of scales. Just run 1 km on your nearest mountain. If your body feels like it can handles it with ease, move to a bigger one soon. Then feel your body again, if it feels ok move to the next bigger one.
2. The kind of body that’s strong. If you want running, you must have strong legs, if you want cycling, you must have strong legs and so on so forth. A strong limb is like a triple butted frame, it doesn’t brake easily. Even in the case of an abuse, it will handle it and warn you for the next time. If it’s weak, it will break easily under pressure (that’s too much for it).
3. The kind of body that’s flexible. Remember what Bruce lee said about trees. “Notice that the stiffest tree is most easily cracked, while the bamboo or willow survives by bending with the wind.” It’s the same with sports, a flexible body will absorb the punishment way better than a stiff one. The tendons won’t be damaged easily and the body as a whole will tolerate accidents and risky moves.
4. The kind of body that has experience on the specific field. If you want to be injury free boxer, punch a lot the bags. Go every day and try smoothly combinations fast or slow. Be gentle at first until you get the hang of it. When you do, try a little harder but not too much. Be smooth and put kilometres under your belt. Run and shadowboxing at the same time. Every day, for years. Eventually you will be injury free, your body will absorb anything, it will adapt perfectly in the environment. Same principle applies everywhere.
5. The kind of body that moves smoothly. Work your steps, work your way into then zen training. Don’t try to be strong and good, try to be smooth and calm. Eventually you’ ll learn the game and you will be able to experiment as much as you want.
6. The kind of body that evolves. Watch the experience athletes around you, how they move, how they react to obstacles. Be a student and search for your master that will teach you his moves. Learn everyday how to control your body efficiently, how to be fluid inside your sport. The day you’ll stop evolving, you ‘ll be jeopardising your body integrity.
7. The kind of body that doesn’t allow enthusiasm to control it. The kind of body that’s wait for its time. Don’t listen to your enthusiasm, make a conservative plan and work inside it. Try to snap yourself out of the thrill of risk. You will always meet guys who will inspire you to do what they do. Don’t fall for it. Get inspired but stick to your plans. You will manage to accomplish these feats later.
8. The kind of body that doesn’t work much, but it works for long and steadily. Don’t miss a day. Do your thing for half an hour. But never abandon it. Keep yourself busy exercising your skill. Doesn’t have to be a lot, but must be on beat. Every day, every second day, 2 times a week, whatever, keep it the way it is for years.
Those are the basic qualities of a body that will be happy and healthy doing its thing for a loong time. If you have to experience an injury, take a breath and be patient. Learn from it and be stronger until you will experience the bliss of eternal zen exercise.
Now, take your bike and climb some hills 😀