Am I ready to exercise? (Part II)

Sausis 10, 2020

Am I ready to exercise? (Part II)


Physical activity is vital to every human being, but on the other hand, it can also cause injuries. Why does this happen? If you seek certain personal results, you must first understand, what does it mean - harmonious work of muscles and joints, and then you should choose exercises and intensity that are designed specifically for your body. Physical exercise just like any prescription drug - can be harmful or cause side effects.

Determination is a positive feature of those who decide to start exercising, but usually, they lack one important characteristic – enthusiasms to consult with the medical specialist or physiotherapist before taking up an intense physical activity. It is extremely important to get your musculoskeletal and cardiovascular system evaluated by medical professionals before engaging in any training program. Valuable medical advice can help beginners, as well as athletes, avoid future injuries such as the formation of a spinal hernia, sprains or tears in muscles, tendons or ligaments, and so on.

The three-rules principle

Jonas Girskis, neurologist, physical medicine and rehabilitation doctor and specialist in manual therapy at the Spine treatment center, emphasizes that to engage in any sports activity safely, it is necessary to know the following principles: “The first letters of the sport, and the health alphabet, are muscle strength, endurance, elasticity, joint mobility, and correct movement. The first general rule is that all of your body movements must be free and unrestricted. The principle applies to all joints, even if it may seem that the shoulder girdle joints do not affect, say, running movements. Always remember that the body is a whole and dividing it into separate segments exists only in books and not in the biomechanics of natural motion. The second rule is that only with an unrestricted and correct movement of the joint, it is useful to start strengthening the muscles that are involved in moving that specific joint. The third rule, when the movements are correct and all body muscles can develop optimal strength, then you can exercise or train harder and more often.

Once you acknowledge these principles, you are no longer misguided by the idea that there are exercises that could work for everyone always and everywhere. Super-exercises that would eliminate the need to evaluate and get your musculoskeletal system in balance simply do not exist. Physical activity or training program should be selected based on your current body condition.

According to  Spine treatment center guidelines - the first general rule to engage in any sports activity safely is that all of your body movements must be free and unrestricted. The principle applies to all joints, even if it may seem that the shoulder girdle joints do not affect, say, running movements. Always remember that the body is a whole and dividing it into separate segments exists only in books and not in the biomechanics of natural motion.

Quick self-testing to evaluate muscles

One of the most commonly overlooked muscle properties is elasticity, which decreases rapidly with age, making joints less mobile. According to the first rule named by Dr. J. Girskis, you should start strengthening muscles only when you can easily perform bellow listed movements:

1. Standing with your knees straight and then bending forward, you can easily reach the floor with your fingertips.

2. You can squat without discomfort or pain while keeping your feet shoulder-width apart and your hands interlocked behind your neck.

3. With your hand reaching behind your back, you can easily reach at least the lower part of the opposite side of the shoulder blade.

If you are not able to perform one or more of the above-listed movements correctly, it is recommended to consult a sports or physical medicine and rehabilitation doctor to assess the real causes of the decreased joint mobility and get suggestions for the most appropriate solutions.

To run or not to run?

Two and a half thousand years ago, in ancient Greece, the words "If you want to be strong - run, if you want to be beautiful - run, if you want to be smart - run" were carved on a giant rock. But there were no rules next to it telling how to run and when to stop. Thus Dr. J. Girskis suggests getting your physical condition assessed before starting to train: “I notice that with the popularity of running competitions and marathons, more and more people come to my consultations, complaining about back, knee, ankle pain, ligaments, and tendons sprains. This shows that people do not adequately assess their physical capabilities before running, they do not understand the condition of their musculoskeletal system, therefore they often overtrain, or after running long distances they do not take proper recovery measures.

Every runner should know that warm-up is a must before any sports activity. It prepares the body: the muscles, tendons, joints, and other organs gradually transition from rest to readiness. Warm-up protects the body from injury, raises muscle temperature (making it easier to absorb oxygen), improves blood circulation, gives joints mobility, and prepares the central nervous system for mental and emotional loads.

Mandatory stretching exercises

Before and after each run, it is necessary to stretch those groups of muscles that do the main work during the run and tend to shorten (leg flexors and extensors). Avoiding stretching or ineffectively stretching these muscle groups can cause pain or an inability to perform a natural movement - fully bending or extending knees and/or other joints. In case of such disorders, a specialist should be consulted. Only a medical specialist can determine which muscle groups cause movement discomfort and assign specific physical exercises to restore natural muscle function.

Muscle condition should also be monitored by those who enjoy cycling. If the muscle groups that work when you ride a bike are shortened, you should first stretch them to regain muscle elasticity, and only then can you start cycling with confidence. If a person has decided to ride a bicycle anyway, he or she must stretch those muscle groups before and after the ride, as they will become even tenser after the physical activity. treatment center

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