The Role of Exercise in Modern Life
Many of us have taken steps to become a healthier, stronger version of ourselves this New Year by becoming more physically active. Some of us hit the weights, the yoga mat, the spin bike or the side walk, all of which are excellent options for getting in shape. For many of us, however, our workout routine can begin to seem repetitive and boring, as if we are just going through the motions, simply breaking a sweat because we were told it was good for us. But this isn’t about the benefits of exercise that we have all heard so many times before. This is about bringing purpose – and longevity – to your exercise program.
Nowadays, we spend hours on end in chairs with “back support,” caved in from the chest as we work away on our computers or drive in our vehicles. Our sedentary world of comfort and support has led us down a path of physical unease, where poor posture and dysfunctional movement patterns have become normal at younger and younger ages.
Good posture can be defined as the proper alignment of body segments that allows muscles, nerves, and joints to function efficiently. It is simply the foundation of our movement. Holding oneself in correct alignment involves the correct relationship between the opposing muscle groups of the body. Because of our supported modern lives, these muscular relationships have become imbalanced and poor posture and a lack of mobility is the result. Now take this poor alignment of body segments, and go through the motions in your exercise program, and the result is wear-and-tear on the joints, further dysfunctional posture, and inevitable injury leading to an unhealthy relationship with exercise. Nick Frasca, owner of The Yard Authentic Strength and Barbell, says it best, “You can’t put fitness on dysfunction!”
We are stuck with these bodies for the long haul. We must shift our attitude towards fitness from instant gratification to training for longevity, making our exercise session a practice of movement with the intention of living free of pain and injury. Building a strong foundation in your movement practice will reduce the aches and pains of daily life, allow you to commit to a long-term exercise program, and will even allow you to take your fitness to the next level. This is a tough task, but there are professionals (chiropractors, physical therapists, personal trainers, yoga teachers, etc.) who will guide you along the journey to becoming the strongest version of yourself. After receiving medical clearance from your doctor, seek out your local fitness professional and make that first step!
Shahriar “Shar” Emami is a certified personal trainer and registered yoga teacher (200 hour) who is passionate about helping others achieve a healthy well-rounded life through the avenues of weight lifting, yoga, and gymnastics. For more information contact Shar Sharseyed@gmail.com or the Live Well Clinic at (760) 771-5970.
Sources: 1) Kim, Deokju, Milim Cho, Yunhee Park, and Yeongae Yang. “Effect of an exercise program for posture correction on musculoskeletal pain.” Journal of Physical Therapy Science 27, no. 6 (June 27, 2015): 1791-794. doi:10.1589/jpts.27.1791; 2) Quka, N., Dh. Stratoberdha, and R. Selenica. “Risk Factors of Poor Posture in Children and Its Prevalence.” Academic Journal of Interdisciplinary Studies, 2015. doi:10.5901/ajis.2015.v4n3p97; 3) Kendall, F.P. et. Al. (2005). “Muscles Testing and Function with Posture and Pain (5th ed.). Baltimore, Md.: Lippincott Williams and Wilkins.
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