When Exercise and Movement Hurt

I’ll admit it.  I had my gluteus maximus handed to me on a silver platter last weekend.

I was teaching jazz dance at Berkshire Pulse in Massachusetts.  Two classes on Saturday.  One was an hour and a half.  The second one was two hours.  As a teacher, you generally are not doing the entire class so let me be clear that I was NOT moving for the full three and a half hours.  But I danced my heart out when I did!  And on Sunday, I couldn’t move from the couch.  The lactic acid left me on my a#$%!!!

I have moved my entire life, but lately, for a number of reasons, my dance and yoga have been inconsistent – much like many of my clients who first begin their movement program or return after being away for awhile.  When returning to movement, the body must always be respected and listened to, and the truth is, I DID hear my body while dancing. But I was so caught up in the moment, the music and the dancers in class, that I completely over road the sensations of the muscles screaming at me.

And on Sunday, it was painful.  I mean in a way that I haven’t experienced for years.  And while some women like to see this as a badge of honor, ‘yeah me’ or no pain, no gain, I heard a real wake up call.  Step out of denial.   Start listening again.  I was cocky and arrogant thinking I could go in there and dance like I was 21 again without doing the work to prepare my body!

The moral of the story?

  • Always have Epsom salts at home for the necessary baths when you overdo it.
  • Warm up before the warm up – especially if you are older or haven’t moved in awhile.
  • Listen to your body – and listen deeply.

Exercise, movement and dance should not be painful.  You may experience discomfort as you strive for a new goal, activity or dance move, but never leaving you in so much pain the next day you cannot move.  Where is the joy?  If you haven’t moved in awhile, begin with ankle circles and wrist circles, then move to knees and elbows bending and straightening.  This will get your joints warmed up and begin the circulation in your system.  You can then move to hip circles and shoulder circles, and by then, you should hear your body saying a quiet thank you.  (Btw, I skipped ALL of this before I began!)

I will always dance – the dance is in my heart.  And I hope you will always move from a place of joy, love and pleasure.  And as Aretha Franklin says, have a little RESPECT – that’s how much my body means to me. :)

About the Author:

I have been empowering women through movement since 1995 when my book “Real Fitness for Real Women” laid the foundation for what has become a transformative professional speaking and training career. My signature “Breathe & Eat©” program fills a void in the vast diet/exercise industry.

One Response to When Exercise and Movement Hurt

  1. Oh dear Shelly – but what happens if I just can’t stand to warm up – but still want to dance as if I were 28 or 30…and I just want to jump right into turns a la second – as if I were 28 or 30…because they are in my new piece – and I can so easily visualize myself doing them… yet my knees won’t let me push down and press up to releve – and my vertigo won’t let me spot rhythmically and quickly… oy vey. So .. here’s my pearls of wisdom…indicate what you want them to do… explain the musicality and rhythm…and LET THEM DO IT!! How great is that! Especially when they get it.. and they can do it!

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