Risk v Benefit - Keeping your exercise programme safe
Risk v Benefit – Keeping your exercise programme safe
There is much in the popular press about the benefits of exercise for both physical and mental health. Many people are encouraged to take up exercise by their doctor or physiotherapist. On the other hand, there are many articles about the risk of injury from exercise. For example one study showed that over 60% of runners will pick up an injury in any one year, and another stated that 35% of women exercising on a regular basis will have a musculoskeletal injury.
As a fitness professional and physical therapist I use a variety of techniques to ensure that my clients gain the benefit and do not suffer any injury:
I encourage clients to work at their own level, not keeping up or competing with each other.
I keep a close eye on the posture of each client as they exercise. If there is a postural fault when a client walks in, they will probably keep that faulty position as they exercise. This will be a habit that I am keen to discourage and correct with exercise.
When I spot a common postural imbalance within a group I will add exercises to help them correct it. This could be drawing back rounded shoulders, lengthening the neck or stretching tight hamstrings to encourage better pelvic alignment.
At the beginning of each session I check how everyone is feeling and how long standing injuries are progressing. I will include the best exercises to help each person’s condition. This could be reducing range of movement to encourage stabilization of a lax joint, work to strengthen a weak joint or stretches to help muscles tightened up by other sports such as running or cycling.
Using these methods I aim to help everyone to exercise and gain a benefit whilst not risking an injury. Remember that your feedback is essential to ensuring a safe effective exercise programme so don’t keep quiet about any pain or discomfort as there is usually a way to manage it, and it is often a good indicator to the types of exercise you need.