I go bouldering at a gym several times a month with my friend Ian. We went yesterday and I was so pleased to be able to see concrete proof that I am getting better and stronger. One great thing about climbing/bouldering is that you can see improvement fairly quickly. It could be as simple as finally making a move that had been too difficult up until that moment.
Yesterday, I completed some overhang moves that I couldn’t before. Plus, I was able to climb for longer and didn’t fatigue as quickly. It felt so good and I can feel how pleased my body is when it feels strong and capable.
Bill Tara talks about this in one of his lecture I heard of his a few years ago.
One thing I specifically remember him talking about is how it’s important for our bodies to feel strong, healthy and capable.
Visualize how your body feels when you haven’t had enough sleep, aren’t eating well and then you try to do something physically active that is a stretch for you. You trudge along, running or cycling, and maybe your body is feeling like it isn’t very strong. This can even be a little scary for your body which may feel that it wouldn’t be able to keep itself safe if it needed to run or fight to survive.
When your body feels tired and weak, it gets a message that it IS weak and it might even feel that something is wrong with it. This creates a negative thought cycle that affects our perception of our body and can actually impact our health.
It makes a lot of sense, doesn’t it? It’s important for us to feel both capable and challenged in all areas of our life, our bodies are no exception.
I try to choose physical activity that my body really enjoys, not just after I am done, but in the moment, too. My body loves it when it has fun and feels excited even while it is being challenged. I think it’s okay for us to challenge our bodies even to the point that they may feel a little weak, but I encourage you to include a lot more moments where your body is able to feel strong and pleased with itself.
My arms are very sore today, because I pushed myself on the rock wall. But, every time I move and feel the soreness, I am reminded of how strong I am. It’s a wonderful, empowering feeling.
What activities can you add to your life that help your body feel strong and healthy? For further insight you can also check out a related post on The Problem with Exercise.