Success through exercise

by Paula Allia PT, DHSc, MTC, OCS

There has been a significant increase in fitness participants over the past few years. There are also so many options out there. So how does one choose what is best for them? First, many people join a fitness regime to look good. Secondly, specific fitness may be recommended for people participating in certain sports…more commonly known as sport specific fitness. Finally and certainly not last exercising for the health of the body is pertinent to one’s longevity.

The reason why people exercise is many times dependent upon the age of the individual. The younger person sets their goals on looks; many older adults try striving to maintain their youth with the hopes that exercise does not age but preserve their looks. It seems that all ages want to tone some to look good and when they look good they generally feel good about themselves. Males more than females want to bulk up their muscles. This muscular building lays down muscle fibers in parallel with those who have a bigger cross sectional area then being stronger. Overall, women want to tone by just the right amount while men want to build bigger muscles to their own personal preference. Interestingly, those who reach their personal goals have a renewed confidence in themselves.

Sport specific fitness is always a good idea but there is more to it than one thinks. For example, if a person desires to play a better game of golf, both joint mobility and proper flexibility is key for that sport. If turning in golf the neck, back, hips, knees, and shoulders must have soft tissue flexibility surrounding each joint and then needs proper joint mechanics with the proper mobility and stability of each of the joints to properly execute. Then it is the coordination of these parts working synchronously and timed perfectly to get the right motion for great execution. When young and with proper training, the right techniques can be conquered by the athlete if the program is designed for that sport. One needs proper timing and recruitment of muscles in addition to joint mobility and stability; then success is seen in the developing game.

Unfortunately, by middle age, minor strains and improper techniques have worn and joint parts become vulnerable to injury. So now what? Where does one go from here? Many problems go unrecognized until the threshold of pain is reached. They try and muscle a swing instead of letting the club (or racquet) do the work that actually causes more wear and tear on the body. It is not uncommon that a golfer develops hip, knee, shoulder or back issues. The key is to stop, regroup and try to figure out how to keep participating in an activity without slowly breaking your body down further. Where can an adjustment be made in order to continue to play without causing further damage? Success  is when all joints can coordinate properly with the current joint situations. Having a body assessment that includes joint and muscular flexibility is ideal then execution of the specific activity can be reviewed and adaptations can be made specifically for you! The health of the body is essential and it is never too late to take responsibility and do the right things to help yourself ! We seem to all be our own self -destruction in some form or another.

The body is an amazing machine and when given the chance it always tries to maintain a status of homeostasis. When we abuse it in some way, sedentary lifestyle, over exercise, drinking, smoking, eating horribly the body makes adaptations and unfortunately the effects on our body do not become apparent until we have pain, feel bad, or have blood or other test abnormalities, the body has to try and heal itself in a less efficient state. Why not start today and take control of yourself in order to age more gracefully? The length of your life is best when each day is quality. Think about that and do yourself a favor and make a change that will help you live with more quality. You realize later in life that the overall health of the body is far more important that just looks. Why not have it all!   To your Health!

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