The need for exercise
Most of the time when we go to a chiropractor or an osteopath, we leave with a handful of exercises. If you are like most people, you will do them for a while, and once you are out of pain, you will stop.
The reason we find most people do this is because the motivation of pain has gone. However, if you have read our other posts, you know that being out of pain does not mean that you are fixed. You need to continue performing your exercises even after the pain has gone in order to rehabilitate your sensorimotor system.
The initial stage of exercise programs are designed to improve your movement (think: stretching) and to retrain your brain to be aware of where you are in space. However, there is another important aspect to exercise – strengthening.
The strengthening element of exercise is designed to not only build muscle strength but to maintain the relationship and coordination between your brain and your movements. Evidence suggests that if you continue performing exercises even after the pain has gone, you will decrease the chances of reinjury. Because by doing so, you are reinforcing the nerve pathways in your body and getting your body familiar with performing correct movement patterns.
So what is a movement pattern?
We have all learned to walk early on in our life. During this process, we go from crawling to standing. To do this we perform a movement pattern where you extend your back, move into a squatting position, and push up through the legs. We then do this over and over and over again until we have the strength and coordination to walk. If you have watched a child learning to walk you will know those patterns are ingrained in the child’s nervous system. You do not have to teach a child how to walk. Another example is lifting. Children will always bend their knees, bring the object in closer to them, and try to lift it. As time goes by, we move away from these movement patterns and set up incorrect movement habits in the name of efficiency or, let’s be honest, we become lazy. How do we as adults pick up a heavy object?
As adults we have spent years establishing all sorts of incorrect movement patterns in most areas of our lives. To correct these movement patterns we prescribe exercises based around reinforcing your correct movement patterns and decreasing the likelihood of re-injuring yourself.
So what is the advantage of committing to a simple exercise program, designed around your needs? No more pain, no more feeling like you are 80 when you are 40, no more being afraid to do the things you enjoy.