Returning to running safely? Thumbs up for body awareness training!

Body Awareness Training

The Key To Active Healthy Aging

Body awareness training, using a simple thumb experiment.

Left, left thumb up, right, right thumb up! Formatted using Alien Skin Software, by FitOldDog!

 Returning to Running, Safely?

Andrew Weil Said Running Is For Young People!

I Say, “Forget that!”

Returning to running safely: FitOldDog's program of safe exercise for better health starts with a series of exercises to improve your body awareness.

Any training program later in life, or with a health challenge, should start with body awareness training. In fact, they should use it in high school, too. Click image for link to my podcast on the subject, with Bill Vick, who’s bravely using exercise to fight IPF! Image shows FitOldDog’s Training Wheel!

On returning to running in my 50s, I could have avoided two knee surgeries, and lots of pain, with a little body awareness training. But I had no idea, back then! I was, basically, clueless!

Body awareness training came consciously into my life, much later. It started when I was introduced to The Feldenkrais Method.

It’s been a good week. I feel that I actually have something to contribute, when it comes to safe exercise for better health. Especially when dealing with health challenges. Which challenges, you may ask? All and any, but here are two examples, that have impacted my life, recently.

James, recovering from abdominal aortic aneurysm surgery; from a review on Amazon, in relation to one of my ebooks, that I wrote years ago (this review made me feel really great):

“After you read this it will give you confidence that you too can get your life back. It worked for me. I am back running again and I love it.” Jim The Runner

For Jim’s complete, and very kind, review, click this link.

5.0 out of 5 starsThis book will inspire you!

By Jim the Runner on July 17, 2016

Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase

Returning to running, after abdominal aortic aneurysm stent graft surgery.

James is out there, another athlete with and abdominal aortic aneurysm stent graft. It’s so good to have company, not that I would wish it on anyone. Well done, James! Body awareness training and low impact running style are keys to long-term success with such health challenges.

You come back from the doctor and he tells you have a AAA aneurysm. What is that?!!! The author is a man of perfect health who did marathons and ironman triathlons. He finds out he has a ticking time-bomb in his belly ready to rupture. He covers the initial shock, how to handle the surgery event, post surgery and how to get your life back. You will find out how fortunate you are to find this aneurysm before it ruptures and you bleed to death inside your body. Knowledge is power and thanks to modern science, you will be saved by a dacron stent. The author will walk you through most of the questions that flood your brain after the doctor breaks the news to you. If your aneurysm is not in the danger zone (>5 cm), you will get tips on what you can do to help yourself keep the aneurysm in the safe zone. If are in the danger zone, you can look at some of the surgery options. He will talk about EVAR surgery where your surgeon doesn’t have to cut you open, but uses this minimally invasive alternative with a high success rate. He will go over your attitude and how you can get back to doing most all the activities you did before. He will point out some extreme activities you should avoid. Lastly he will show how he was able to recovery his life back to the point where he could do the Ironman Triathlon again (swimming 2.4 miles, biking 112 miles and running 26.2 miles). He provides links to other helpful sites. After you read this it will give you confidence that you too can get your life back. It worked for me. I am back running again and I love it.

Bryan, returning to running in his 50s; work to do! “Any advice?” Bryan broke a number of rules, including the 10% rule. We are working together to fix his running, but first to undo damage done in the absence of body awareness training. Bryan just needed to work with his thumbs, BEFORE he started running again. He’ll get there, I’m sure, because he’s doing the work.

For his current status, read Bryan’s recent message, to this blog.

Returning to running: Running faster further for Bryan

Bryan will make it, it just takes time and patience. Photo used with permission.

Here are the symptoms. When I wake up in the morning, or remain still for an extended period of time, my Achilles’ tendon hurts like heck. It loosens up as I move and will be pain free until I am still again for an extended period of time. No limit on the range of motion of my ankle. I am pretty darn sure it is Achilles Tendonitis (probably insertional). And I suspect it is due to several things like my ankles rolling due to worn out shoes with poor support, doing too much too soon, and hills. I have eliminated hills and have cut back on distance but, I have not given good time for recovery. From research I have done, if I do not give it time to fully heal, I can risk tearing it which would just be a big damn mess. So I have come to the conclusion that I need to work on it to make it better. This includes ice a few times a day, Aleve for inflammation, and specific exercise. But, I also want to see a doc about it, one who knows about this type of thing. I suspect that you know a good one. Do you have a name you can share? So until I speak to a doc, it is painful to say, I am going to drop back to low impact stuff like biking and swimming and elliptical and exercise I have read about to help my tendon and strengthen and loosen my calf and shin. Boo and hiss. This sucks BUT, as you can attest, this will only be a temporary set back, provided I deal with it now and get it better. All that being said, there is a big “told ya so” in all of this. I went to fast. I was running super hilly courses before I started getting advice from you and running to far too soon. Live and learn and listen ( to others and your body). My plan of attack: Ice several times a day Anti-inflammatory No running Prop up foot when I can Small exercise I read about to help heal the problem (this is a heel drop and a toe lift) Low impact stuff like swim, bike, elliptical See doctor Any advice?

Chat Conversation End

Sent from Messenger

Type a message… My reply, “You need a good PT, I think!

If you want to return to running, start with your thumbs. Whether you are recovering from aortic surgery, or dealing with the challenges of aging. Here’s how it goes:

FitOldDog’s Body Awareness Training With Your Thumbs

returning to running. The benefits of an active life, visiting the horses.

One of the advantages of an active life in my 70s. I get to visit this horse on our 32-mile bike loop. He loves Honey Stinger Waffles! Another benefit, is a better sex life! Photo by FitOldDog.

You can spend years, and lots of money, on body awareness training. I did! Or you can just start to listen. Body awareness starts with a conversation. A good conversation, as you know, requires someone to listen. Your body is most certainly listening to you – just think about a stressful situation, and see what your body has to say (sweaty palms, constricted neck, tight chest, shortness of breath, pulse racing – you get the message, or your body does, anyway).

But are you (your mind, whatever that is!) listening to your body? Here is an easy place to start the conversation.

  • Clasp your hands together.
  • Gently grip.
  • Feel the subtle tension spread from your hands to the shoulder on the side with the ‘thumb down.’
  • Feel it spread all the way down to your toes – it really does, even with a very gentle squeeze.
  • Reverse your hands.
  • Gently squeeze.
  • Feel the tension spread in the opposite direction.
  • Watch out for the effects of old injuries, diverting the tension, as I do in my left shoulder.

That’s it! You’re listening. Then listen as you swim, as you bike, as you run, as you sit in the movies (legs crossed one way, then the other), as you stand in line. Never a boring moment, when you are listening to your body.

You might even get to enjoy returning to running safely, at any age!

Wishing You Happy Trails,



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Disclaimer: As a veterinarian, I do not provide medical advice for human animals. If you undertake or modify an exercise program, consult your medical advisors before doing so. Undertaking activities pursued by the author does not mean that he endorses your undertaking such activities, which is clearly your decision and responsibility. Be careful and sensible, please.