Ok, maybe not “Why do you exercise” because exercises provides many benefits; from improved body composition all the way to some people actually enjoy exercising or it’s one of their hobbies. Why do you move or even better- how do you move?
At Defiance West we spend a lot of time talking about proper movement and how it relates to exercise. The majority of movements we perform use multiple joints which are whole body movements, for example, knee and hips, shoulders and elbows, etc... Realistically these movements are everyday movements that everyone performs whether they go to the gym or not.
How do you perform these movements? In the gym, most of our members perform very well or are continuing to work on at least improving the movements. We deadlift (pick something up/hip hinge), we squat (sitting down and standing up), and we press (putting something on a shelf over your head) and we do it well. But how many times a day do you think you hip hinge or bend over to pick something up outside of the gym? Ten times, 100 times, or maybe even 1000 times, what does that movement look like?
Back hurts, knees hurts, hips tight? Realistically it’s not the deadlifting and squatting that is causing these pains! If you perform those movements correctly I am going to guess you actually don’t feel the pain. Most pain/injury (let's be honest all of us are injured at some point as we just live life) comes from our everyday posture and movement patterns. We have worked with hundreds of people that come to us with pain and are afraid to lift weights but once they learn the proper mechanics, and as long as they lift with some proper progression we see the pain start to go away and they feel better than ever.
Let's say you spend one hour a day, three days a week at the gym, ah I’ll even give you five days a week, so five hours a week. Within those five hours at our gym I know how you are moving, or at least trying to move. There are 168 hours in a week, what does the other 163 look like? Yes you are sleeping for a good chunk of that time but we can even improve our sleeping posture that should make us feel better too! Good movement doesn’t start and stop at the gym it should be all day long.
Sounds simple, right? Realistically we all have years, 10 years, 20 years, 30 years and more of poor posture and movement. Not intentionally, most of us were never taught, or we are too lazy (I can include myself on this) to move well consistently. It takes work to improve this, and I am not talking about learning to squat better or deadlift better and suddenly you are fixed. I often hear the example of: “How long did it take you to put on that weight?” Well, improving movement is not different than losing weight, it doesn’t happen overnight and once you are at your ideal weight or moving well, you still have to keep working on it.
We all have pain and we all live in pain at different points. Don’t accept it... do something about it! Find someone to help you. We should be able to live full lives free of pain if we are willing to work for it.
If you are looking for something simple to start with- engage your glutes and keep your shoulders down and back, these two things can improve almost every movement, try it.
*Looking for a positive place to start or continue your fitness journey. At Defiance West we offer one on one personal training and group classes that are appropriate for all fitness levels. Contact us today to get started at firstname.lastname@example.org
...look for part 2 next week on why we should be using exercise as prehabilitation and rehabilitation.