Much of the information concerning exercise these days revolves around how to lose the most amount of weight as quickly as possible, or how to get in the most extreme shape of your life. What if you want to feel better, reduce pain and injury, improve your quality of life, and lose weight, but do it without all of the pain and injury that can accompany extreme exercising? All of this is possible with a low intensity, low impact exercise and nutrition program. There is a nutrition and exercise program that will actually be healthy for you and one that will leave you feeling better. It is called Pain Free Lifestyle. Most people in middle age, or beyond, do not need an extreme exercise system. Most people middle aged or older wouldn’t be able to withstand an extreme exercise system long enough to gain any benefit from it. There is a minority who, in middle age and older, can do the extreme and intense exercise routines. But that high impact exercising will catch up with them. All of that wear and tear from extreme exercising will catch up to them, at some point. And it usually catches up in the form of osteo-arthritis.
If you are in pain, have osteo-arthritis, haven’t exercised consistently in over a year, are overweight, or are out of shape, then your body won’t be able to withstand the rigors of a high impact, high intensity, extreme exercise system. Sure these systems work great, if you are able to do them consistently. These systems will get you into shape, and get you ripped, lean, and mean. But, in my opinion, you need to be in shape to even begin one of these high impact exercise systems.
These systems are designed to get you into better shape. They are not designed to transform you into shape from not having exercised at all in years and being deconditioned. In my clinical experience, about 20% of the total population will be able to do an extreme, high impact exercise system. Of those 20%, I feel that 5% will be able to do it without hurting and injuring themselves. Studies show that 73.5% of those who perform these extreme, high impact exercise routines will get injured from the exercise. The injury will be bad enough for the sufferer to have to stop exercising, and potentially even miss work. This is an injury rate that is similar to what is found in marathon/triathlon training, Olympic weight lifting, and power lifting. These are all high impact exercises that I recommend staying away from.
The above listed are great exercise systems, if you can do them consistently. Each of them will get you into great shape. But not everyone is structurally set up to run a marathon or triathlon. Not everyone is built to be an Olympic weight lifter. Just as not everyone is genetically designed to be a professional athlete, not everyone is genetically predisposed to be able to get into great shape and become even an amateur athlete. Just as these extreme exercise systems can be good for some, they can be very bad for others. They can be very harmful to those who are not in the right condition to do them.
As we approach middle age and beyond, our ability to recover from injury slows down. We don’t recover as well as what we used to from crazy workouts. If you are in your 20s then maybe you will be able to stick with an extreme, high impact exercise routine without injuring yourself. You will recover quickly enough from the minor injuries that come from a high impact workout so they stay just that, minor injuries. Once you approach middle age and beyond, you will not be able to recover from the minor injuries sustained consistently through high impact exercising. Those minor injuries will stick around longer and longer, because you won’t recover from them as quickly as you did when you were younger. In middle age and beyond, these minor injuries easily build up to become a major injury.
Once a major injury occurs, you will not be exercising for 4 to 8 weeks, at least. If the injury is bad enough to cause lasting damage, it can affect you on and off for the rest of your life. That is why I recommend low impact exercising. I believe in exercising to feel good, to improve mobility, increase functional/real world strength, prevent injuries, reduce pain, and improve quality of life (oh yeah, and to lose weight as well). I want to be able to do the activities that I love to do when I am old enough to retire and have the time for it. I want to be able to run around after my grandkids, if and when I have them. I want to physically be able to ski with my grandkids, like my in-laws do.
The only way to achieve this is by taking care of myself now. It cannot wait. All of this is possible through consistent, low impact exercise. The main benefits from exercise come from doing it consistently. You can’t exercise for 2 months and expect the benefits to last the rest of your life. The benefits from exercise only last as long as you are consistently exercising. Once you stop, within 1 to 2 months you will lose many of the health benefits from exercising (lower blood pressure, reduced chance of heart disease or stroke, reduced chance of type 2 diabetes, etc.). The only way to stick with exercise consistently, and long term, is by doing low impact, low intensity, easy on your body exercises.
Most people know someone who runs marathons or does some other type of high impact exercising, have done it for years, and is still going strong. Wait to see how they are in 10 years to 20 years. It is only a matter of time before it catches up with them. Once it does then they are in pain for the rest of their lives. High impact exercising usually catches up to the person in the form of osteo-arthritis. Osteo-arthritis takes years to form. It is the slow breakdown and degeneration of the cartilage that lines a joint, then the joint itself. Once you have arthritis you cannot get rid of it. You can only prevent it from coming on in the first place, slow down the progression of it, or reduce the symptoms of it. That is why many of the leading orthopedists recommend prevention as the best medicine to treat arthritis. Once you have it, it is almost too late.
You will only be able to slow down the progression of it and reduce the symptoms associated with it. The best way to do that? Through consistent, low impact, easy on the body exercising. There is a reason why many professional football players are renouncing football, saying that it is not good for the body. There is a reason why players are retiring early, when they still have a few good playing years left in them. They don’t want their body to be shot for the rest of their lives. They make a living at getting beaten up. We do not make a living from getting beaten up. I look at exercise as a way to keep yourself in shape for dealing with the stresses of the real world, and as a way to prevent the stresses of the real world from affecting your body. Professional athletes have to get in shape for the sport they are competing in. They have to put their bodies through high impact, high intensity exercising. We do not.
If you aren’t a professional athlete, then there is no reason to train like one. Be easy on your body. You can get just as good of a workout through low impact exercising as you can through high impact exercising. You just have to know what to do. The Pain Free Lifestyle program lays it all out for you step by step. It takes you through not having exercised in years to slowly but consistently getting into shape and feeling better. It is a complete exercise, stretching, and nutrition program that is low impact, easy on your body, and easy to stick with. Exercise smarter, not harder. Be intelligent about how you exercise, and how you eat. You are not 20 years old anymore. Treat your body accordingly. Your body will thank you 10 years from now. That is the Pain Free Way.
Here are a few other articles that I wrote about the perils of high impact exercising: