Energy is a form of currency. Moving our bodies requires energy.
Pregnancy and Postpartum require A LOT of energy: mentally, physically and emotionally. While exercise is beneficial for our health, it can only be a value add when we have enough energy stores in the tank. Otherwise it simply creates another energy debt to our systems – aka added stress – which makes exercise a costly expense.
I’ve been having this conversation A LOT lately with my new postpartum patients about auditing their movement usage to support their healing and helping them take an inventory of how they are saving/spending throughout their day. Injuries, flare ups and setbacks happen when our energy spending exceeds our energy tank’s capacity.
We have to earn it before we can spend it, and we have to keep earning to keep spending without going into debt. Aches, pains, and chronic injuries increase when we overspend for too long.
We each have a finite amount in our energy accounts at the start of each morning based on the previous day’s usage. And, this is a cumulative effect of usage from the day before that. We get to decide how, when, and where we want to spend it.
Equally, if not more importantly, we also get to decide how, when and where we want to regularly contribute back into that energy tank in order to avoid overdraft fees and insufficient fund warnings. Here are the top 6 ways I see many people accumulate “overdraft fees” that keep them from moving the way they want to.
- Underfueling: Not eating enough for your activity level greatly limits your body’s ability to deposit the benefits of your exercise session, and instead leaves the system in an energy debt that racks up quickly with a high interest rate. This is especially common for those newly postpartum with the unkind pressures to “lose the baby weight.”
- Aches and Leaks: If you are experiencing aches, pains, leaks or heaviness during or after your workout, please listen. These are signs that your movement volume and/or load is exceeding your body’s current credit limit. This includes tissue soreness or stiffness that persists longer than 24 hours.
- Poor Recovery: Pushing through workouts without enough rest, or not feeling recovered between sessions despite adequate sleep and rest days in between, is a sign that the body has insufficient funds. PS. “Adequate sleep” is relative depending on what season of motherhood you’re in, and that can absolutely contribute to overdrafting happening more easily during those seasons where sleep is more limited/interrupted.
- Irritable and Anxious: If workouts are leaving you feeling irritable and anxious, or you’re noticing a decreased interest in doing activities that used to bring you joy, scale your movement spending back a bit. These are signs of overtraining.
- Too Much High Intensity: Pushing yourself at a high intensity too often, and/or ramping up your workout volume or running distance too quickly exceeds the energy balance in your movement checking account and drains your savings account fast!
- Reinjury Loop: You keep finding yourself stuck in a reinjury loop, leaving you sidelined and frustrated on repeat. Overuse injuries are the body’s way of saying card declined! And often occur from a combination of the overdraft charges listed here in this post.
Our energy bank accounts fluctuate daily and seasonally. It’s important that we are regularly reviewing our account balances and contributing to our savings accounts for optimal overdraft protection (aka reducing our risk for aches, pains and overuse injuries).