Do you exercise? Do you move throughout the day? Do you know what biomechanically correct means? Do you want to know?! Do you find yourself saying or hearing others say “ but my shoulder this…..my knee that….my back hurts when…” Sometimes these issues begin when at some point in time you were moving, and this could have been years ago, a joint was compromised while performing some kind of movement, exercise or lifting weights. When we move, our joints and muscles work together to get that job done. Exercise, resistance training or physical movement should “stress” the muscle, not the joint. Movements that stress the joint rather than the muscle compromise the integrity of the joint which can lead to a lifelong injury of that joint. Compromising a joint weakens it, allowing a higher potential for injury to occur. Compromising a joint once or twice is not often the issue…it is repeated offenses that opens the door to the possibility of injury, like in a gym or fitness class, or the way you squat down at home to pick up the laundry basket or get into the seat of your car! Even young people with their fantastic flexibility and energy can incur joint damage from an activity, sport or exercise that can last their lifetime if they (or their coaches) are not aware of how to move in ways that tax the muscle and not the joint. How do you know how to do that? Well, there are several resources available to go to for more information on this, and I will list them toward the end of the article. Even if you have already incurred an injury, knowing proper/safe biomechanics will help prevent further damage or incur an additional injury/joint compromise. Being careful not to over-stretch ligaments or tendons is important, as they do not have as much “snap-back” about them. Once they are over-stretched they tend to never be as tight or strong as they originally were. This can become an injury in itself, or, now that the joint is not as strong as it once was, the potential for further injury to the joint or muscle around it increases. Do you get the “weight” of what I’m saying? A strong body requires more than resisting weight, it requires knowledge of the biomechanics of physical movement. So, your next question is; “Where can I find this information?” I’ve got an answer for you; in several places! An online peek at exercises showing both biomechanically correct and incorrect exercise can be found at the National Council of Strength and Fitness http://www.ncsf.org/enew/articles/articles-contraindicatedexercises.aspx. A friend of mine, Everett Aaberg, has written several books on biomechanics, any of which will be extremely informative. (Found on Amazon.com) Nationally known Cooper Clinic and IDEA both offer exercise certifications in Biomechanics for those who are coaching others in exercise or want to obtain the certification for their own personal knowledge. As someone who has personally experienced the difference between correct and incorrect exercise and movement, and taught biomechanics certifications with opportunities to hear and see stories of what lack of proper movement can do, I cannot stress to you the importance of this message enough if your plan in life is to move freely and have some degree of strength well into your golden years.
Here’s to you feeling great from your Head, Shoulders, (Elbows), Knees (Hips, Back) and Toes! Forever!
Lauri Armstrong, Degreed Dietitian, CLT, Adv PFT.