This time around I want to discuss something very important that you probably never think of. It’s so important that neglecting it could kill you! Got your attention now? This wonderful thing is called inflammation. What is inflammation? It is the immune systems response to injury or infection. It is an essential part of life that keeps us healthy, but also as you will find out, it can also have the opposite effect.
We are all familiar with acute inflammation. This occurs when we get a cut or bruise. There is some swelling and pain which will usually last for a fairly short period of time before the healing process is complete. This is the healthy response, but what happens when this inflammation lasts for an extended period of time without resolving? Here lies the problem. A healthy inflammatory response becomes unhealthy chronic inflammation. It’s this type of inflammation that is the root of all evil. Chronic inflammation leads to all the popular health issues that we hear about. Heart disease, fibromyalgia, thyroid disease, adrenal fatigue, and you guessed it overtraining syndrome. I know this doesn’t affect you. You are a machine working out every day, with a clean bill of health. So clean that your doctor considers you the healthiest person in their entire practice! But this chronic acute inflammation can go undetected for years until the health challenges arise when you least expect it. Remember, the organs in your body do not have pain receptors that will tip you off like a simple cut or bruise. These changes take place gradually over the years.
Anytime the limits are getting pushed, so is inflammation. The body gets broken down causing this inflammation. With proper rest the body heals itself getting more resistant to the stress that was imposed on it. This process is what training is all about. When you constantly overdo it, inflammation takes over and the fun begins. You have chronic aches and pains, insomnia, injuries, and if you are really lucky some form of virus or bacteria will take hold. When you make the connection that inflammation is an immune response, and our immune systems are there to protect us from disease and other foreign bodies, you realize that this stuff is no joke. The training we think is making us healthy is actually having the opposite effect on the body if it’s not being done smartly. It’s putting the body in a self-imposed state of acute inflammation. This acute inflammation over time is setting the stage for injury and disease down the road. Is it all worth it? ABSOLUTLY! You will grow so much more as a person when your life gets turned upside down. Like they always say, no pain, no gain!