All of my life I have been active and when I’m on the court, I go all out, but I also know how important it is to have my body working. I spent time in a wheel chair when I was 24 years old, I’ve been on crutches a couple of times, and I’ve sprained ankles, torn ligaments and fought tendonitis and when I’m hurt it’s a lot more difficult to do the things I want to do, so I do what I can to stay healthy, which sometimes means giving my body a break.
Recently my daughter went in for her second knee surgery in less than a year. The doctors had to stitch down the meniscus and she was given a three-month timeline for getting back on the court. After her first surgery many questioned her then two-month timeline. “My meniscus tear only took 3 weeks”, “I was walking the next day.” I suggested she work hard on rehab but even more important, listen to her body. It is more important for her knee to be healed for the long run.
As athletes we must learn to really listen to our bodies. We are taught to push ourselves to the limit, to go beyond what we are capable of, that’s what good athlete’s do, but we also need to understand that our bodies are our temples, our vehicles for living the life we want to live.
Without a healthy body you can’t run the race, play the game, climb the mountain. So if your body needs it, give it a rest.
Would rest have made a difference for my daughter last year? No one knows for sure, she waited two months while doing rehab so that shouldn’t have been the problem, but I do know she will always be attuned to the needs of her body now. This is so important for young athletes in this era of non-stop year-round sports and for everyone as we grow old and live our lives. Our bodies, and minds, need time to rest and recover.
After playing college basketball, which included fall ball, the regular season, post-season and spring ball, I would come home for the summer and take time off. I didn’t touch a basketball for about 6 weeks. I worked, water-skied, swam, went on occasional runs and goofed around with my friends. Then a few weeks before school was going to start I ran more, lifted weights and started to shoot around (I didn’t know of any open gyms back then).
Push yourself, push your body, but also listen to your body and allow it the time it needs to recover. Stay healthy and if needed, make sure to give your body a rest.