Your individual movement will guide the choice of exercises. This means individualized exercise is what is important. If you have a weak neck, playing golf for five hours will not help if you walk off the course and continue to hold your head down. But Head Lifts will help to strengthen the neck. If your walk is flat and out of alignment, working out for two hours on an exercise machine will not help if you continue to walk in the same old way. But Low Walks may help. If your back is slouched, playing squash or tennis will not help if you walk away in the same slouched position. But Standing Curls may help.
The best exercise restores an individual to favorable movement patterns. Neck pain may lessen by doing head lifts or visual turns to loosen the neck so that it is used more freely. A back problem may improve when a weak knee is strengthened by Single Knee Bends (hard to believe).
It is one’s movement, not necessarily one’s pain, that guides the selection of exercises. Note that there is really no single exercise or set of exercises that is “good for the low back” or “helps a bad knee.” Yes, walking, dumbbell sit-ups, and forward bends are favorable for the lower back. However, if the lower back problem is ultimately caused by a one-sided walk none of these exercises will really solve the problem.
It is important to note that any exercise has its own reward. Anyone who exercises, from lifting heavy weights, to sitting in a chair and moving one’s knees, from jogging 10 miles to lying on one’s back and doing simple knee rolls, knows the great value of exercise.
It is easy to blame a sprained knee on a rock that was in the way, a sudden leap for a ball, an old injury, or a structural weakness. But a sprained knee may well be a weak knee. A strong knee–one that has not been weakened by walking poorly and other inappropriate movement patterns–can take ordinary twists and spills with minimum difficulty.
Only through exercise can the knee be made strong. The basic reason for exercise is to develop a body that can perform when we want it to perform–one that is resilient to the occasional jolts of everyday life. This raises a point pertinent to other approaches to exercise.
What happens when something goes wrong? Should I quit? Or go on, even if it hurts? In our view, there is a real response to the issue of pain. A solution. That solution is–look to the way we move. Herein lies the cause of pain. When we find the cause, we select the exercise to treat the cause.
Finally, an exercise that heads straight for a weakness may be hard, but it will feel great afterwards. You will have no doubt of its effect. The idea behind this is actually simple. First, make an observation about your own movement that is not optimal or off (you can watch yourself walk in a mirror or have someone video your walk). You could also have another person observe your movement and find the same. It could be how you sit, or stand, or cut the grass. For example, let us say the shoulders are too high or too far forward.
Second, pick an exercise that will help correct this issue. For this example, pick an exercise that lowers the shoulders or relaxes the shoulders or brings the shoulders back to a better position. Third, use this exercise to help become aware of the position of the shoulders and apply it to normal every day movement.
Your own movement patterns will guide the selection of exercises to get you moving—and feeling—more in alignment.
For more help in finding the right exercises for you, schedule a 1-1 coaching session at www.painalleviated.com