Equestrians have a culture of pushing through pain. Though, what many fail to realize- pain is generally not a beneficial thing to push through in terms of longevity in our health and performance. If we are in pain and negatively stressed- we’re more likely to experience burnout, injuries, illnesses, and lower adherence to exercise programs.
During workouts and training sessions, having uncomfortable sensations is normal. Pushing yourself to new levels is inherently going to cause discomfort, soreness, and fatigue. However, there is a big difference between pain that comes with growth and pain that is a message from your body saying something negative is happening. This is pretty obvious distinction all humans are capable of making when we really listen to our bodies.
The other thing to be aware of is the pain that comes because we are pushing ourselves too much. Ongoing fatigue, soreness that lasts longer than a few days post a intense workout, headaches, trouble sleeping, new and sustained muscle tension are all signs of burnout. Burn out symptoms are not to be messed with!
Preventing negative pain during a workout is quite simple. Pain usually appears with poor biomechanics/form. If you’re new to cross training (or have been at it for a while), it’s extremely beneficial to have someone check your form. Whether this be a trainer, knowledgeable gym staff, or an online coach- making sure you’re moving correctly is a huge factor in preventing undue pain!
Alongside making sure your form is A+, we want to make sure you are intaking appropriate nutrition, hydration, and allowing for rest time. These are topics covered in previous articles- but the basics are:
- Eat majority whole/real foods (get rid of processed foods and high sugar foods!). Sugar/additives are highly inflammatory to our system and can create problems needlessly.
- Be intaking 2-4L of water a day, and include electrolytes in your water during periods of increased energy output.
- Coordinate high intensity workouts with lower intensity recovery days (2-4 strength based workouts, 1-3 cardio or longer lower intensity workouts, and at least 1 recovery day a week).
- Pay attention to your body. If you’re feeling off or extra fatigued allow for flexibility in your schedule to swap workout styles or take an extra recovery day. Your performance and health will be way better off for it!
- We all need at least one recovery day in the week! Schedule accordingly.
Do not ignore pain. Find a reliable and educated health care professional that can properly assess your movement, function, and pain site. Having a team on your side saves you inconvenience, pain, and money in the long run.