Most trainers, fitness gurus, doctors and dieticians talk about how exercise benefits us in terms of losing some weight, protect us from heart diseases and make us look good and confident. But few understand that exercise acts like a time machine which lets us see our future self agonized in some joint pain or the other. Stats speak for themselves. Arthritis and spine related issues score over diabetes and heart related problems as leading causes of disability in humans. Orthopedic and rheumatology health care costs tip over cardiology related medical costs by over 40%. (Source: HealthPartners, Health Plan Cost Analysis 2010)
You may be 25 today, healthy and pain free but 20 years down the line, things may not seem that pretty. How? Let us look into it:
Any sort of body pain, be it knee pain, low back issues or nagging shoulder injury is basically an inflammatory response signaling that some damage has occurred in that region. What you take after it (pain killers, gels, supportive bands, therapy etc. Fill your choice) is trying to cure that damage to lessen that pain but tissue damage may be unrecoverable. Also, apart from few good physiotherapists, most of these measures listed above, do not address the underlying causes for that pain.
And this is where exercise comes into picture. It makes the invisible visible. It’s preventive in nature and this is how:
See Future through Exercise: The Magic Trick
So, let’s take a case of a 25 year old female who works at an IT company and only does cardio in the gym to stay “slim and fit”. While assessed for barbell front squat test, there is a slight inward caving of her left knee. No pain experienced now but we can bet she’ll at least be wearing knee wraps 15 years down the line for her treadmill sessions or morning runs. The problem is that of torque leaking due to muscular imbalances in her case. You don’t need to understand the terms but you get the point, right? Heavy loads, stress and fatigue produced by exercise can often reveal subtle issues which may turn into bigger problems requiring even surgeries at a later age. You must be wondering now that “Okay now, what benefit is there apart from financial planning for therapy and surgeries at an older age?”.
What is seen, can be managed
The good news is that detection at an early stage is much easier to manage. This is the reason why assessment is the first thing we do for our clients. A simple stretch or tweaks in your running posture/ exercises can manage the future devastating effects up to a great extent. No one’s perfect, including the elite athletes and they get injured too. But corrective techniques allow body to improve on movement patterns and joint integrity. Think of it as a spellchecker, it may not make what you write error-proof, but it prevents from turning it into a texting fiasco.
But Physiotherapists can assess it too, why exercise?
Yes, they can do it too. Preventive physiotherapy is a well researched field. But how often do you get regular check-ups by a doctor, let alone be a physiotherapist or an orthopedic to find bad posture and movement restrictions for your joints? There’s no additional cost/time involved with exercise though. You should be working out for a plethora of benefits apart from what we are discussing in this article. Think of this benefit as a “free gift”. In fact, open minded physiotherapists like Dr. Swati have similar opinion on exercise:
“Exercise can help you pick up signs which may be sub-symptomatic. It works like a stress test.” - Dr. Swati Limaye
But My Trainer says I am fit and fine. Am I?
No, you’re not. Try and do a front squat and 95% of you will have some problem or the other completing the movement with your torso upright without a buttwink, not because of the weight but because of faulty movement patterns. This is why trainers tend to stick to machines these days. Understanding glenohumeral or lumbopelvic joint movement for every different individual is tough. If your trainer doesn’t even know these terms (test him/her next time you meet them), let alone understand the intricacies, how can you expect them to diagnose you for dysfunctional movements?
Don’t cheap out on such people/fitness centers. Their source of knowledge are few routines they learnt in the gym, some 2 day certification course or from popular men’s health websites/magazines. At PSI Fitness, we don’t throw terms like “sustainable well-being” or “lifelong health” as just marketing buzzwords. We mean it and give utmost importance to these assessing techniques and corrective methods. Mail us at email@example.com to know more.
In Lucem Scientiam