Wednesday, March 19, 2014

If exercise is a pain you're doing it wrong

You know that old adage, "No pain, no gain"? Well, that's a bunch of crap. There's a world of difference between being sore a day or two after doing strenuous exercise and suffering through pain while working out. So, today I'd like to clarify a few things about the feedback your body gives you while exercising. Read on...

This is NOT what exercise should look like.
Pain is one kind of feedback that you can get during a workout. But despite popular belief, it's more like a red flag than a gold star. Pain is your body's way of helping you avoid injury. So, when you're exercising, think of pain as a Tweet from your brain telling your body to rethink what it's doing.

So, how do you exercise without pain? For some people, just getting cues about proper form (alignment and posture) can do the trick. For others, though, it takes stepping back and learning to function properly.

Past trauma, injuries, surgery and even desk work can affect how you function in everyday life and more so when you're exercising. It’s a domino effect — poor function leads to increasingly poorer form, which can lead to injury, which can set you back further from your goals.

One of the first things I tell my clients is: There's a difference between 'Oh!' and 'Ow!'

Oh! is when you connect your brain with your body and feel particular muscles doing their proper job while doing a particular exercise. For instance, when you do a push up (with good form) and feel your chest muscles engage to lower you and then push you up from the floor, that is an Oh! moment. Yes, this can be challenging. You might have a bit of soreness in your muscles later on, but no exercise should hurt while you're doing it.

An Ow! moment, then, is when an action feels painful, which usually means you are doing something incorrectly.

This is a hard point to sell to folks who really want to get in shape and just jump into the deep end of the pool before learning how to swim, so to speak. Too many people aren't functioning well to begin with. Then they hit the gym, load their muscles with weights and think, 'Well, exercise is supposed to hurt, so I must be doing it right!' WRONG.

So what can you do to function better? Well, let me tell ya!

  • Work with a trainer who does assessments—postural, strength, function, flexibility, etc.—to see what's going in your body.
  • Try restorative and corrective exercise methods. There are a lot of these out there, but some of the popular ones are Alexander Technique, Feldenkrais, Somatics and my Proactive Postural Restructuring courses
  • Work on your breathing patterns and pelvic floor. PT Julie Wiebe has a great webinar covering both of these and how they work together—well worth the money!
  • Slow down and tune in. This is a hard one in this crazy world, but some down time can help you reduce tension. 
  • Stop redoing what you're doing. If you've been doing the exact same exercise routine for years, change it up. Talk to me if you need suggestions.
Thanks for stopping by!


1 comment:

CrossFit Charlotte said...

Extremely right! I highly agree with you that if exercise is a pain then you are surely doing wrong way and you have to get out from the wrong way and should have to involve in a right way. Thanks

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