* Veggie of the Month Link Up opens Thursday! Get to cooking with your bell pepper and apples!
Since I hurt my IT band, I have been doing way more stretching than ever before. Truth be told, I usually stretch while lying down because I feel less guilty for
watching reality TV while I’m doing it not doing what I’m supposed to be doing. I stretch lying in bed in the morning (it’s a great excuse to wait five more minutes before getting up), I stretch while relaxing on the couch, and, when I’m feeling really ambitious, I actually get on the floor and stretch the way I’m supposed to.
All of this stretching has made me realize that, unbeknownst to most, stretching is really a great metaphor for a lot of things in life. Here are some examples:
1. Stretching is something you don’t want to do, but you really should.
No one complains about the electric runner’s high that they get from putting in a few miles, but MOST of us complain about the stretching that we’re supposed to do afterwards. Or, even worse, we just don’t stretch. HOW MANY things in life fall into this category? You know you should do it, you might even feel better once it’s done, but you just can’t bring yourself to follow through. For me, the self-control to stretch has come because I haven’t been able to run for such a long time, and I knew I had to make the effort if I wanted to get better. I didn’t WANT to do it, but I knew I wasn’t taking care of my body in the way I wanted to by not doing it.
How many other things in life are like this? You don’t want to put in the time to do something that benefits you in the long run. It’s hard to force yourself, but once you do, you might just be thankful.
2. It’s really hard at first, but gradually it gets easier.
Even those who are REALLY flexible probably have problem spots. I’ve always been able to do the splits and any other weird yoga pose that was thrown my way, but when I had to start stretching specifically for my IT band, it HURT. I had to gradually build up my flexibility, and it didn’t come easy.
This one doesn’t really need that much explanation. 95% of all worthwhile things in life fall into this category. They are really hard, but gradually you figure out what you’re doing. The thing is, if I had stopped stretching after day one because it was just too hard and it hurt too much, I never would have gotten the benefits that I now have. Same goes with running, blogging, learning to eat my veggies… Basically every single thing I write about on this blog came to me over time and with hard work. But think about where I’d be if I never stuck with any of those things? I wouldn’t know any of you!
3. It’s something you can control that ACTUALLY helps.
Now I know the benefits of stretching and when to stretch are hotly debated. But regardless of WHAT stretches you think are helpful, stretching out your muscles does help prevent injury. So why not do it? Sure, you could get injured just cooking in your kitchen (like dropping a plate on your foot), crossing the street (like getting hit by a car), or just running too hard, that’s true. But for regular training, stretching is one thing that is COMPLETELY under your control that you can do to help prevent injury. Other things that fall into the “do-this-and-prevent-catastrophe” category are flossing, not eating french fries daily, and exercising in the first place.
So many times it feels like life is completely out of our control, so when you find something that you actually can control, hold onto it! I know I write a lot about realizing that I’m not really in control of anything, but I want to amend that statement. You know what I am in control of? How I treat other people. How I deal with tough days (or months, or years). The risks that I allow myself to take. How hard, fast, and strong I love those around me…
And you know what else I’m in control of? Getting off of this computer and stretching before my first official “back to training” run tomorrow. Wish me luck.
What other metaphors for life can you think of (funny or serious)? Do you like stretching?