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1st Blog of 2015 / Exercise Smart

First blog of 2015.  Happy New Year.  I wish you all a happy, healthy 2015 filled with successful new year resolutions.  Today’s blog tells the story of a chat I had on January 1, 2015 with a long-time family friend.  He’s the father of a family I have known my whole life and have spent almost every Jan 1, 2015 with, amongst others.  He must be somewhere around age 70, yet you’d never know by looking at him; an athlete his whole life, often competing in cycling or running races alongside my own father.  We got to chatting about my chiropractic practice and I told him about Functional Range Conditioning (FRC) and how it has revolutionized the active component of my patient care.  He was intrigued.  I explained the genesis of FRC – an exercise system based on science, aiming to truly improve the health of the body.  {Note: I say ‘truly’ because there are other methods that claim health benefits without the backing of scientific evidence; for example, short duration passive stretching} FRC focuses on establishing healthy joint ranges of motion, with strength and mobility.  I explained how my former classmate developed FRC and now teaches it at the elite athletic level, and yet is scalable from the sedentary, injured individual all the way to that elite athlete.  He commented that he’s had personal trainers in the past that seemed to echo my explanation of how FRC achieves its results.  In all likelihood, he had had very good trainers who knew the science of exercise well, although were not using FRC by name, but rather by some of its principles.  He then told me that his new year resolution was to exercise smarter as he “transitions from an old young man to a young old man”.  I have used that quote in practice all week because it seems to apply to so many of my patients.  Interestingly though, it really should apply to EVERYONE.  Here’s why:

  • Exercise is necessary.  Exercise is an invention of our society to counteract our sedentary lives.  Without some form of routine exercise, our bodies are doomed.  Especially because we’re living longer than we have in the past.
  • Smart exercise is more necessary.  While regular physical activity is great (even walking), it, alone, does not ensure all of our joints function as they’re supposed to.  Physical activity, alone, does not ensure we have the necessary strength where we need it.  If physical activity was enough then those that are physically active would not eventually suffer from arthritic joints later in life.  We need to ensure our joints function as joints, and our strength levels, and ranges of motion, and bone density are where they need to be all the time.  This requires smarter exercise.  Cue FRC.

My family friend is a young, old man, yet appears as an old, young man.  Yet, he’s got back pain, and sore knees, etc. Why?  Injuries over the years accumulate despite his constant physical activity.  He’s the exception.  Despite pain, he’s maintained his activity levels.  Most of us simply stop moving in the face of pain.  But, maintaining activity is not enough either.  First, you need to help your body heal from the injuries.  Second, you need to establish activities that improve your body’s shortcomings in order to prevent recurrence of the injuries.  A common problem is back pain.  Would you believe that I’m beginning to see more and more young people with significant low back pain and stiffness?!  Without smart exercise to counteract our sedentary work and play environments, we are losing the normal functioning of our joints, the necessary strength levels of our bodies, and ultimately our bodies are breaking down sooner.  Musculoskeletally speaking, we’re getting worse, not better. The scary reality is that more and more people are going to live longer (yay) but with pain (boo).  Ouch!  So, this blog is another of my cautionary tales to inspire you to be physically active, but also to be smart.  Don’t know where to start?  Start with me.  I’ll be your coach.  See you sometime in 2015.


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