January is here and the holidays have passed. This is when most people have a New Year’s resolution that once talked about now needs to become reality. Most fitness memberships commence with vigor YET many drop out within the first two months. It is time to get serious about what your needs are and persevere forward to be even better than you are today, BUT where should you start? What is it that you need to do in order to be the best you can be so that you can participate in all of the things that you want to while also taking responsibility for better overall health?
There are so many choices of different exercises out there but what is really the best? Bottom line is that you want movement….movement helps to burn calories, limber and strengthen your body while if done correctly, lessen the effects of arthritis so that you can participate in activities more safely and without pain.
Movement is a term used loosely yet if you understand it then you would know what your body craves. Two contributing anatomical structures that allow for movement are the joint and joint structures and the muscles that attach to the joints. Interestingly, in order for active movement to occur, muscles have to pull on the joints and this is what creates the joint to actually move. The orientation of the joint itself will dictate what kind of movement will occur when the muscle pulls on it. Depending upon the angle of the joint, sometimes there are compressive forces on different parts of the joint’s surface. This is why you need to have someone work with you who understands the detail of joint and muscle physiology. Getting expert advice can help guide you. It might be for strength, balance, posture, or for general health. Usually what is needed is a combination of strength training that incorporates stretching and core work. Where does your problem lie? Joints that are hypermobile need strengthening to help stabilize the joint during movement. Tight joints need direct joint work and not just stretching of the muscles.
It takes a combination of strength, flexibility and joint integrity to produce the right movements. If you start to move and you do not have these components then the body will wear and breaksdown prematurely. Before you know it you wake up having morning stiffness, joint limitations and arthritis. Trying to correct movement impairments will allow you to function more effectively.
Many people suffer from arthritis pain while others have not reached that threshold and don’t even know they have it. Time to pay attention to your body and move. When you participate in an exercise or movement, the amount of weight used in combination with the number of reps and the speed that the exercises are done will get varied results. First, if you have known arthritis, the articular cartilage on the joint is worn or joints spurs have developed. Bone spurs develop from the pull of muscle or ligament on that bone. Overuse or abnormal mechanics can enhance abnormal movement patterns which can lead to dysfunction. If movements are done without excessive rubbing on the joint the muscle can get stronger.
Understand that there are right and wrong mechanics with motion. If your joints are already altered, you must find the right movement pattern that you can do to get results. Proper firing patterns of muscles are key to your success. You do not want to do heavy weight or excessive repetitions if proper technique is not followed.
Be diligent in your choices so that your body will last BUT make sure that you are working hard enough to make the positive changes that you desire. Remember, a combination of activities are usually needed to address the myriad of issues that you may have. Don’t take your body for granted. Get a movement assessment and learn about your imbalances so that you can focus on moving forward. Be proactive, not reactive.
To Your Health!