There are 3 exercise components that are essential if you want to get in shape, reduce pain, decrease injuries and to maintain or increase your activity levels. These 3 components are: cardio-vascular exercising, stretching, and strength training.
Cardio-vascular exercise is essential because it will keep your heart healthy. The harder you breathe and move around during the exercise, the harder your heart has to work to pump blood around the body. This helps prevent the build-up of plaque within your arteries which will decrease the chances of heart disease, hear attacks, strokes, and high blood pressure. Cardio-vascular training will increase your endurance so you can run around after your children or grandchildren, it will allow you to walk up and down the stairs easily. It will also be the main way to burn calories and lose weight. It is the most effective way to burn calories. There will be a direct correlation between how much cardio you do and how much weight you lose. But if you want to keep exercising so you can lose weight, then stretching is essential to keeping you feeling good and injury free.
Stretching is essential if you want to reduce pain, prevent injuries, and keep exercising consistently. And consistency with exercise is the most important component. Everyone has repetitive motions throughout the day. Whether they work at a desk and are typing and using a mouse, or they are an electrician who uses their arms and hands all day or a stay at home parent who is picking up toys and doing the laundry and cooking every day, everyone has repetitive motions. I call it the daily accumulation of tightness. Everyone suffers from a daily accumulation of tightness. These repetitive motions slowly cause muscles to tighten up in your most overused areas. This tightness, if not worked out, will eventually cause the muscle to tear on a microscopic level. Then the muscles will go into a pattern of spasm and inflammation that can last months to years. And this will cause you to stop exercising.
I work on, and prevent, tight muscles. I am a chiropractic trigger point specialist. I see on a daily basis how muscles tighten up over time and become injured. Then I get to see how much these injured muscles affect people. You never appreciate how much you use your low back muscles until your low back goes into spasm and you can’t bend over. Or how much you use your shoulder and rotator cuff muscles until you can’t wash your hair or put on a shirt without severe pain. Stretching can prevent this. Stretching will keep you loose and prevent your muscles from getting so tight that they tear and become injured. If you are exercising, stretching is essential to keeping your body balanced and loose. Stretching will prevent injuries, and if done lightly, can help heal injuries.
Strength training is the last essential component to feeling good and getting into shape. Strength training is essential to stabilizing arthritic joints and preventing injuries. The stronger and looser a muscle is, the less likely it will be to get injured.
Strength training is a weight bearing activity. This means that it puts stress on your bones and joints which causes them to react by becoming more dense and solid. If you have osteo-porosis, or if it runs in your family, it is essential to do weight baring activities. Once you reach a certain age (for women it is generally believed to be 35, but new research is saying this might be inaccurate) you cannot increase your bone density, but just maintain it. Osteo-porosis affects mostly women, but men can get it as well. This means that it is essential to perform weight baring activities prior to turning 35, and afterwards. This will allow you to build up your bone density, making your bones as dense as possible as you age.; and to maintain that bone density. Even if you haven’t exercised prior to age 35, you can still maintain your bone density as you age by performing weight bearing activities such as weight lifting. Maintaining bone density will prevent osteo-porosis and the crippling pain and reduced range of motion that can accompany fractures due to osteo-porosis.
Strength training is usually associated with weight lifting. Weight lifting can be a great form of exercise. It certainly is not for everyone. But it doesn’t have to be 2 hours a day, 5 days a week pumping hard iron in a gym. Weight lifting, if done correctly and you know what you are doing, can be done in 30 minutes, 2 to 3 days a week, from home if you want to. Weight lifting can be helpful, and do-able for most people, if you do the right exercises in the right way.
The pain free lifestyle program was set up to be easy to follow and easy to maintain. The exercises are easy on your body and increase functional strength. Functional strength is the strength you use to do every day activities like putting a carry-on suitcase into the overhead compartment, lifting laundry baskets, swinging a golf club, gardening, standing in a long line, grocery shopping, and almost everything else that you do on a daily basis. Increasing your functional strength makes most activity easier to do. And if weight lifting is done correctly, it will decrease pain by increasing stability of irritated joints and will increase the amount of activity you can do with that irritated joint.
To start weight lifting, do 1 exercise for your upper back and 1 for your chest. Do 1 exercise for your abdominals and 1 for your low back extensors. Then follow that with squats if you can do those. If not, then do leg extensions and leg curls. Start out with 1 set each and 12 to 16 repetitions per set. Do this 2 times a week to start. And start out with too easy of a weight- go very light. You will be surprised at how sore you get from doing such a little bit. Go easy! Don’t hurt yourself.
The most important component of exercise is doing it consistently. If you are not consistent, then you will not see results. You will only see results if you do it consistently. And you can’t exercise consistently if you keep getting injured. If you have any questions about these exercises, directions on what exercises to do, how to do them, and how much to do them will be available soon on painfreelifestyle.net
Some weight lifting exercises can hurt you. Even if you are in good shape and have been exercising for years, I still believe that you should stay away from the following exercises because they put stress on your joints and can easily cause an injury.
-Leg Press Machine: Especially men like this exercise because they can use a lot of weight on this machine. But this machine puts your back at a susceptible position for injury. If you have ever had low back pain I would stay away from this machine. And if you don’t want low back and hip pain, stay away from this exercise. I have worked on many people who have injured their backs doing this exercise.
-Any exercise behind your head: This includes pull-ups, lat pull downs, and military presses. Inevitably you will see people doing weight lifting exercises behind their heads if you exercise in a gym or health club. This puts too much stress on your shoulders and rotator cuff muscles. It will cause rotator cuff and shoulder injuries. Don’t do anything behind your head!
-Lateral Raises-This is an exercise for your shoulders. Body builders use very light weight when they do this exercise because it is so tough on shoulders. If you have ever had a shoulder issue I would stay away from this exercise (and front raises and rear delt raises as well). If you are not a body builder then you do not have to work all of the little muscles in your shoulders and the rest of your body. Work on the larger muscle groups, and by doing this you will hit the smaller muscle groups along with the larger ones.
-Hip Abduction/ Adduction Machine: While it is very important to strengthen the muscles on the outside and inside of the hips, they are smaller muscles and this machine puts too much stress on them and can easily injure them. Doing barefoot balancing exercises, yoga or ti chi can strengthen up these areas without causing pain and injury. And if you injure one of these muscles, you will have a hard time walking, sitting, running, standing, having sex, or any other activity that you use your hips for.
Weight bearing exercises and weight lifting can be as complicated as you want to make it. Or it can be easy to follow and easy to do. If you are just starting out with exercising, make things as easy on yourself as possible. Pain free lifestyle does this for you. All you have to do is follow the directions to get into shape and reduce pain and then be able to do the things that you want to do.