What do you do when your body quits? Don’t give up! Here are some things that help me get through rough days of injury and illness
Dealing with injury and chronic illness can be mentally and emotionally exhausting, not to mention your budget. Staying positive when you’re dealing with injury can be rough, sometimes it feels like your body is giving up on you and it’s an uphill fight against your own body.
I just found out last week that I have a hip disorder (femoral acetabular impingement, aka FAI) combined with bone spurs that may need surgery if there is cartilage damage from exercise. I knew I had limited mobility in my hips, but it never bothered me until I started teaching PiYo. I love PiYo, but those deep hip stretches aren’t good for me. The deep low lunges are a particular problem for me, and my class routine has tons of those low lunges, high lunges, and warrior poses, so I will have to do some serious modifications.
I have also been battling what feels like chronic muscle knots and tendinitis of some sort or another. I have been a frequent face at the physical therapist’s office over the last year. On top of that, I have IBS and bladder ulcers, and I will be heading to another doctor soon to check for RA, lupus, and fibromyalgia soon (all things that run in my family). Some weeks I am emotionally and physically exhausted and exercise makes your body ache.
So where do I go from here? One of the activities I love may be off limits to me if I cannot find a way to modify it. I am grateful I found out about this before I did any serious damage, but it is still discouraging when you enjoy fitness and it has become your career too. So what do you do when you feel like your body quits? Here are a few things that help me get though those rough days:
What to do when your body quits
Don’t fight your body
If your body needs something, give it! If you need rest, take it; if you need surgery, get it; if you need to stop some activity you love, do it. You have one body to live in, take care of it. You can always find something else to do, but you can’t find a replacement for your body.
Fitness should be a long term pursuit, not a short-term race. Take care of your body so you can stay active into old age. That is my ultimate goal with fitness, too keep my body moving until I die. If exercise hurts, it’s okay to take it easy for a while.
Don’t be afraid to move into a different season of your life
Change is scary, but it is good and necessary sometimes. Life has different seasons in it, and when a door is shut, shift your thinking: you are moving from one season of your life into another season. There is a time and purpose for everything. Maybe you need to shift from running to biking more, or vise versa.
Cultivate other interests outside of fitness
Commit to staying active, but find other things you love that don’t revolve around fitness, like reading, playing an instrument, or art. Life is multifaceted, it’s not only about fitness. Get certified to be a health coach, become a mentor, or volunteer. You have gifts that can be used to bless others, don’t be afraid to use them!
It’s okay to grieve
Facing the prospect of giving up certain activities for a while (or even permanently) can be hard, especially when you have grown to love fitness and moving in a way that means something to you. You are losing something important to you, and you might need time to grieve the loss, and that’s okay.
When I get bad health news, I usually need a day or two to be sad and to process the situation. Let it happen. Embrace your emotions and feelings, you will be able to cope better when you have allowed yourself time to let things go.
Be open about your struggles and make sure you have a good support system
Having supportive friends and family makes a huge difference! Find people you can open up to about your struggles and who you can trust to stand by you through good and bad days. Then be open with them: no one can support you if they don’t really know what is going on in your life.
I try to be open about my health struggles on my blogs so that I can help people out there who may be going through the same things and to let them know that they aren’t alone.
If you are going through injury or illness, think about what you can do to bless someone else who is going through a hard time, and it helps to lift the burden when you can serve others 🙂
Sarah Jane Parker is the founder, recipe creator, and photographer behind The Fit Cookie. She’s a food allergy mom and healthy living blogger based in Wyoming. Sarah is also an ACSM Certified Personal Trainer, ACE Certified Health Coach, Revolution Running certified running coach, and an ACE Certified Fitness Nutrition Specialist
13 thoughts on “What do You do When Your Body Quits?”
Thinking of you. Stopped by to see how you’re doing.
Hi Jill! I am doing much better, I haven’t been pushing myself as much in PiYo and it has helped the ache in my hips to go away. Now I just have to make sure I can keep my tendinitis under control!
HUGE HUGS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I am feeling some stuff right now for the first time in my almost 57 years – kinda scary – need to get to doc – great post!
Thanks so much Jody! I hope you can get some help for your knee. But that’s awesome that you haven’t had too many problems with that before! That’s a blessing 🙂
You have a lot going on Sarah Jane. Sending positive vibes to you my friend.
The support system is so important. I’m here if you ever want to chat/vent.
great post! i am struggling with a foot injury and can’t run… its been tough, but i love your advice. i should heal before too long with rest, but its hard!
It is hard to give up (even for a short time) stuff you really enjoy doing. But healing up is more important, hang in there!
I don’t get injured often (KNOCK ON WOOD) but when I do… For some weird reason that I am unaware of typically… I ignore the pain and WORK OUT ANYWAYS! Terrible habit of mine, terrible, and maybe one day I will pay for it? UGH! I hope not! But I just cannot go a day without working out!
Haha, that sounds so Gigi 😉 Just don’t forget to take care of YOU so you can still be that active when you’re 100 years old, haha!
Sarah, I am so sorry you are going through all of this. Injury or chronic pain can be so frustrating. Your tips are very helpful fire moving through times that are more difficult. I hope you can find peace with what you are dealing with. Sending many hugs!
Thanks so much Sandra! I really appreciate the warm thoughts and hugs 🙂 It’s going to take me some time to get adjusted to some new things, but life is always changing and I know I have great family and God supporting me <3
I was thankful to chance upon this blog. I am a 37 year old single Mom of two whose life, before this year, had at its very center fitness and health. Being active has been my emotional wellness, my time-out, my solace and my joy and this year it was taken away in two big blows. I had a sudden severe herniation of C6-7 in January that needed surgery due to the radiating nerve pain and the numbness in my fingers. Following the discectomy and fusion, only a few short months later, I was told I had cancer. In June I had an 11 hour surgery to remove the tumor and then radioactive treatment in July. My body, which I once revered as my temple, became my enemy. I felt like it had betrayed me and I couldn’t understand why. I began low impact in August of this year, working toward higher impact, but then began to experience back pain again and another MRI showed another herniation; this time at 5/6. I have found that your advice is exactly what I needed and, while I have been doing some of the activities you advise, it was more of a relief just to know someone with a passion (even greater than mine) UNDERSTANDS…. I continue to battle each day. I now see victories in baby steps, whereas before I needed to move mountains…
Thank you. Keep helping others.
Keep hanging in there April! You have been through so much, but that’s just it, you have been through it, and have come out on the other side, and that’s worth celebrating! There will still be struggles, but you are still here for your kids. Small victories are still victories 🙂