Are your workouts leaving you feeling old?
We've all had that moment in time where all of a sudden our bodies seem to start failing us. That time you woke up unable to turn your head because you "slept on it wrong". You may notice it when you are heading out for your daily run, but this time you notice your joints seem a little stiff, and it's taking a little longer to get into the groove of the run, so you pause and do a few stretches to "loosen up" and then carry on, eventually getting to that point where everything is feeling like it should. It could be that you rolled out of bed wrong and tweaked your back and now your searching for that chiropractor your friend recommended a while back but you can't remember their name. No matter the scenario, we all reach that point where we start noticing things aren't quite as young as they use to be.
But what if it didn't have to be that way?
You see, the body understands movement and function over anything else. Its a highly complex system that will do what you ask it to do to the degree it is able to. With movements such as; walking, squatting, pushing, pulling, and more dynamic activities such as running, walking, biking, and swimming, your body is not thinking about the individual muscles that are responsible for doing these movements. Rather it is has a single mission, accomplish the task you are asking it to do, by whatever means necessary. Your body will figure out a way to accomplish what you are asking it to do whatever the expense is.
This is both good and bad.
It’s good because it allows you to accomplish a lot, such as being able to start a new running program or join the latest group fitness class.
It's bad because there are sacrifices made (also known as compensations), that we don't realize are happening, in order to get it done. This is where the pain starts coming into play.
You see... faulty movement patterns executed over and over again eventually lead to bad knees, bad backs, shoulder pain, and the list goes on. Poor movements patterns combined with improper warm-ups are a recipe for disaster
In my experience, when I have had prospective clients come to me reporting issues like back pain, knee pain, or shoulder pain in very few instances has the pain actually been from an issue in that particular spot. With every single one of them, we were able to start cleaning up the pain by properly warming up their body and getting it ready for whatever activity they are embarking on.
For example, back pain is often a result of a tight hip complex from too much stationary living (and I say stationary living because prolonged periods of stationary standing are just as bad as prolonged periods of sitting). Knee pain is often caused by either hip tightness or issues in the ankles and feet. Shoulder issues? Let's talk about your thoracic spine and neck!
This is important because this type of pain can often be avoided or improved. The vast majority of my incoming new clients don’t do a warm-up, and the ones that do are doing the good ole high school warm-up...run, static stretch a few dynamic ones they remember from their favorite health magazine or Youtube video they watched and they then hit the workout!
I know it is easier to just jump into your workout. Especially when you cramped for time! I'm mean you were able to do it just a few short years ago and you were hitting all your PR's! So you attempt to save time and just get going by saying, "I'll just use some lighter weights to start and that will be fine." However, I am here to tell you that you can effectively warm up your body in just a few short minutes and save yourself from the trip to the chiropractor because you "jacked yourself up".
An effective warm-up itself is what sets the stage for your workout. It should:
- Put your body in an optimal state of readiness for whatever your workout entails.
- Be in alignment with your fitness goals.
- Consist of components that are corrective in nature.
If you did nothing else other than improving your warm-up, you could start the process of eliminating these issues, get better results, and enhance other areas of your life because you aren’t consumed with nagging pain.
A few great warm-up exercises include:
- Seated 90/90 w/ 3D Reach
- Dynamic Frogger
- Leg Swings
- Lizard with Rotation
- Dynamic Toe Touches
- 3D Hip
- 3D Ankle
Taking the time to create and implement a warm-up specific for the current condition of your body with a focus on what your goals, will start to greatly enhance the effectiveness of your workouts, reducing (and in some cases eliminating) nagging pain caused by overuse, and improving your results overall. Plus it can save you time and the embarrassment of needing to do the full body turn because you can't look over your shoulder!