Do you practice self awareness? What I mean is, when you train are you aware of how your body is moving, how it feels - good or bad, how it your mood is? Self awareness while training is extremely important and often overlooked. It can mean the difference between aging well, with health and vitality, or simply aging, with pain and limitation.
Often times when we train, we have small goals in mind. We may have a certain weight we want to move, or a certain number of reps or time we want to reach. Sometimes we focus so much on these small training goals that we forget about the "big picture" goal, like say health and longevity, and we even risk sabotaging this big picture goal. Most of us train for a reason, a big reason, yet we often set this reason aside when we actually engage in our training sessions. We simply get lost in the moment of the session because we are focusing on the wrong things.
We need to shift our thinking and our awareness. What would happen if you focused on how your body was feeling when you trained instead of how many reps you wanted to hit on your third set of olympic snatches? If you were aware that your shoulders were not feeling as "good" as they normally do would you be able to shut down your sets or weight and save your shoulders for another day? Or would you just "push through" your reps because today you were supposed to hit 10 snatches on your third set?
I'll say it first, I have "pushed through." I'm willing to bet you have, too. I know you know someone who has as well. For some reason, most of us are willing to sacrifice some of our vitality and longevity for temporary satisfaction in achieving some weird, non-important, insignificant goal. Why? Cause we're not too smart. ;)
If you love yourself, you need to become aware of how your body is moving. You need to not only be aware, but you need to act on your awareness. If you are not moving the way you know you should, adjust your training session goals for the time being and live to train healthily another day.
If you are completely oblivious to how your body is moving and you have no clue if you move well, feel "off", or are having a bad day, you really need to start focusing on your body more and focus less on your exercise reps, schemes, and selections. Start "playing" with your lifts and learning from them instead of just performing them. If you focus on what you are doing instead of how many times you are doing it, you can learn a great deal of information about your body and your movements.
I do believe we should all be able to live long, healthy lives. We should all be able to be bulletproof. Part of becoming bulletproof involves using wisdom when we train. If we ignore our what our bodies are telling us too often, we can set ourselves up for some "issues". We don't need "issues." We need to be able to engage and enjoy life. After all, that should be the goal of our training - to allow us to engage and enjoy life at any age. Training, itself, is not the goal.
Listen to your body. Learn from it and take care of it. If you do, it will certainly take care of you. Remember, no one cares how many times you can power clean 180 pounds in 5 minutes. But someone (yourself included) does care whether or not you can climb stairs at night, or go for walks in the evening.
Have a great weekend!