In the New Year, I, along with many others, partake in the tradition of resolutions; I try to push myself to be better with my health, personal, family, and career goals. I recently started reading The Impact Body Plan by Todd Durkin, M.A., C.S.C.S. This book explores many fitness myths that are often used as excuses to not reach certain fitness goal. Our main goal at Foothills Sports Medicine is to get our patients healthy enough to return to the activities they love, but we often find excuses to avoid caring for ourselves. Let’s tackle some of these myths or excuses and make 2017 the year we all focus on our goals.
MYTH 1: “Aches and pains are expected with exercise.”
This is absolutely not the case. Muscle soreness is often expected after workouts, but pain or discomfort in your back, knees, or ankles is never normal. It is important to understand the difference between muscle soreness and pain in the muscles and joints. Muscle soreness can often feel dull, tight, or you may feel fatigued, whereas pain can be sharp and often lingering with no relief. Aches and pains often arise when you are not taking care of your body properly. Exercise should not be a negative experience for you, it should be a time you enjoy and are focused on yourself and reaching your goals.
MYTH 2: “The longer my workout, the more beneficial it is.”
Time is often one of the biggest excuses people use to not be active. Working out does not have to consume your entire day, or even a whole hour. The American Heart Association suggests only 30 minutes a day for five days a week. Let’s put that into perspective: studies have recently shown that the average person spends about 90 minutes on their phone a day, leading up to about 23 days a year and about 3.9 years of an average person’s life. You can incorporate this activity into your daily routine by going for a walk at lunch, parking farther away from your office, or even taking the stairs multiple times throughout the day. Be smart with your activity, work hard while you are training, and always put your best effort into your workouts and you will not have to spend hours at the gym.
MYTH 3: “I’ll never be flexible—my muscles have been tight all my life.”
Muscles can be trained. Being inflexible stems from not training your muscles in the correct way. Whether you don’t exercise consistently or exercise incorrectly, both can cause imbalances in the muscles. Our body is a machine that needs every single part to work together properly to function at its fullest potential. When we have imbalances in our body, it will find ways to compensate creating restrictions. Incorporate a foam roll session into your daily routine to promote the tissues’ ability to return to a relaxed state.
MYTH 4: “If I’m not sore or in pain, I’m not working out hard enough.”
Do not make soreness your priority. There are many factors that contribute to being sore including, but not limited to, type of exercise, amount of reps, and the weights being used. Try to use other tangible measures to verify for yourself that you are working hard, i.e. your progress from session to session. Are you able to complete more this time? What is your fatigue level in comparison? Use your feelings after a workout. How is your stress level? Are you feeling happy?
If you have any questions about what you may be feeling during your workouts or other activities, schedule a visit to one of our many locations for a Rapid Recovery Injury Assessment.