I have been rock climbing for 6 years now, since I turned 25 years old. I started out very beginner as I was recovering from an emergecy C section and had a 6 month old not sleeping through the night. As someone who did sports all her life until her early 20s, it was definitely hard not progressing quickly.
However, I stuck at it and eventually became decent at climbing! And lost a lot of weight and gained loads of muscle. Over the years I’ve had some injuries. Last year I had my biggest injury in my life, dislocating my elbow after falling off the top of the bouldering wall. It was a freak fall, landing on my arm.
Since then, I’ve been working hard on recovery and getting stronger. At the end of summer 2018, I began realizing that I needed an extra push to help me get recovered and to the next level. I had done pre and post natal Pilates and loved how much it had helped. My parents were still using the same instructor that I used, so I decided to join their class!
Around the same time, I had a private lesson with one of the employees at my rock gym. Instead of giving me technique tips, he gave me an overall lesson on core strength and core tension. He said I had good technique and I am really strong. So the next step was to focus on core strength and tension. I started doing the drills in concert with Pilates and I climbed the strongest I’ve ever climbed at the Portland Boulder Rally.
My fitness story doesn’t end there though. A few months ago, I was complaining of shoulder issues. I’ve always had very tight shoulders and can get tension headaches as the problem then radiates to my neck and jaw. I carry my stress in my neck, jaw, and shoulders. I ended up running into my climbing friend who is also a massage therapist!
We got to talking and I got a free chair massage! After that, I decided to try out getting regular massage treatment. It’s amazing especially combined with Pilates, stretching at home, and climbing, I’m the strongest and most flexible and loose I have ever been. Even when I do get a kink or muscle ache, between Pilates and massage treatment, I’m set!
It’s amazing how when we age, how much more important it is to take steps for injury prevention and maintaining health of muscles and tendons. Instead of treating something WHEN I get hurt, I’m hoping to stay healthy so I prevent most if not all of potential injuries.
I’m super excited for this journey into self-care. Self-care is definitely a controversial topic, especially among Christians. We are always taught to look after OTHERS first. But in my pastor’s book Upward, Inward, Outward, he has a whole chapter of the importance of self-care. Essentially it boils down to you must be seeking God first in prayer and Scripture (upward and inward), before we can be prepared to serve others (outward)
Basically if we are sick ourselves, we can’t go out and try to cure other people.
I still struggle with this concept, but I’m learning that if I take care of myself alongside seeking Christ, then I can better serve the community and my ministries. If I’m going into AWANA completely exhausted mentally, physically, and spiritually, then I won’t be as an effective vessel for the Gospel!
And even just as a person, keeping mentally and spiritually and emotionally healthy is so important for my marriage, myself, and as a parent. So this fitness post turned into a self-care post, but I think they are all connected. Taking care of myself physically and preventing injury can definitely relate to taking care of myself spiritually and preventing burnout.
In the Bible, Paul gave a lot of sports analogies, and this one is one of my favorites:
Do you now know that in a race, all the runners run, but only one receives the prize? So run that you may obtain it. Every athlete exercises self control in all things. They do it to receive a perishable wreath, but we an imperishable. So I do not run aimlessly. I do not box as one beating the air. But I discipline my body and keep it under control, lest after preaching to others I myself should be disqualified. 1 Corinthians 9:24 (ESV)