Do you ever feel energized from exercise? Or, exhausted? Do you wonder if what you're doing could be hurting your body? What about your clients? Exercise is a form of stress and everyone needs a different amount depending on their body.
Exercise is both beneficial and harmful. It can give you an endorphin high and simultaneously contribute to a future rotator cuff injury. For example, a fun aerobics class feels great for your mind, but swinging your shoulder around mindlessly can be harmful. Exercise can also drain your energy, leaving you feeling foggy-headed and exhausted. Too much exercise depletes the system of nutrients, which is why what you eat is really important.
Proper form helps avoid muscle injuries, but there is more to it than having good body mechanics. Individual awareness is key for safe and effective exercise. Sensing what is happening inside your body comes easier to some than others. It can be improved with practice and patience. It's worth it!
Wanting to be distracted and get the workout "over with" is natural, but can be harmful. Repeating movements over and over with mis-aligned joints can cause long term tissue damage. Bones rub against tissue and joint capsules when moved improperly. This causes friction. Picture rubbing a piece of string with a stone repeatedly.
You won't know there is damage until it's too late. Until the pain sets in.
The body sends subtle signals of discomfort that are often over-looked while listening to music, talking to a trainer, following choreography in a dance class, or having fun playing a sport. Determination to complete exercise often over powers doing it effectively.
You can't be perfect, but you can take a step in the right direction with better body awareness.
Many injuries can be noticed long before they happen, by tuning into how the body feels during exercise.
Pay attention to movements, especially when adding resistance to the body. Do you feel something uncomfortable? Is one side feeling different than the other? What happens if you decrease the weight slightly or move more slowly?
Use an anatomy book to better understand what you're feeling. It'll help you communicate with anyone who is guiding your fitness routine.
Anatomy and awareness helps you determine if you have a muscle imbalance, which means it's time for action. Hiring a skilled muscle specialist with solid foundations in anatomy and corrective exercise can prevent unnecessary injury.
Clients usually want to get through their workout with minimal focus. That's why they hire you. So they can tune out. Urge them to be mindful of their body for part of the session or part of each exercise. After all, you are the leader. You can ask them questions like:
1) Does the right side feel different than the left?
2) On a 1-10 scale, are you feeling exhausted (1) or energized (10) from the workout?
3) Do you know what muscle you should be feeling?
Be curious, ask questions and help your client to understand what they're doing with each movement. Repeated joint movements without awareness and good form can be harmful.
Check Out Andy's Online Anatomy Program for more guidance in this area.
"No Pain No Gain" is a theory of the past.
"Mindful Movement" is the new direction to go.
What are you feeling in your body today? Comment below!
Please share this article with anyone who can benefit.
Understanding this component of exercise helps trainers make a commitment to anatomy and clients realize the value of a trainer.