Is Exercise healthy?

In the last blog, we discussed the mechanisms of why we get injured (see here) in which I mentioned that building resilience is the best way to get out of and stay out of pain. One way of doing this is through exercise.

Is exercise right for me?

Exercise is the best medicine; more and more studies are showing the numerous health benefits of regular exercise. Introducing exercise will stimulate the body to lose fat, increase bone, density and muscle mass, all of which are key to having good health. Like all things in life, it is very important to understand that the dosage is key. Just like drinking more water or eating more apples is not better.

Many aches and pains can come from over-training. Over-training is when you work out more than you recover, it is best to think of exercise as a stimulus that provokes your body to adapt and become stronger. If you introduce too much stimulus too often, your body struggles to recover and you are on the path to injury. The key to using exercise to becoming healthy is gradually introducing it and increasing the stimulus each week whilst making sure you are recovering in between sessions.

As you can see, progression comes from slowly adding more and more stimulus. Adaptation comes from adapting to the stress you have placed on your body during exercise. Failing to adapt and continuing to add stimulus does not give your body the chance to recover and that’s why we get training injuries.

Under-training is also an issue. Under-training can happen when we are injured, and we concentrate on “corrective” exercises whilst neglecting strengthening exercises. If we look at the training graph, again we can see that focusing purely on correctives will not be giving the right type of stimulus which does not allow the body to get stronger and out of pain. Under-training can also happen when medical professionals do not understand physiology and prescribe bed rest or a complete cessation of activities.

Stopping an activity is rarely needed. It is a much better idea to either reduce the time, weight, frequency or other variable of exercise. Another good idea would be to work towards improving recovery through other methods (I will cover this in a later blog).

Here, we have looked at over/under-training by looking at exercise as a stimulus, but the same principals apply when we look at posture and workplace stimulus’s (such as sitting at a desk all day or carrying heavy loads if you work in the construction industry). I hope you have found this useful. My next blog post will be focusing on recovery methods.

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