FEEL THE DIFFERENCE: Fads change but exercise remains

Feel the difference
Feel the difference

Valentine’s day has been again which for many meant a romantic meal. For me though it is also a time for reflection. My company was formed on Valentine’s Day 23 years ago. That was a time when the concept was very new to the UK.

My first client was a 17-year-old racing driver who is still extremely gifted, but at the time he realised that if he was to progress to the level he was technically capable of he needed to improve his fitness and strength levels significantly. Needless to say, our partnership served him well and my University Sport Science studies centred around his driving.

During the last 23 years I’ve seen many ‘ideas’ come and go. Aerobics with leg warmers and head bands gave way to Step aerobics. However, knee injuries from high impact aerobics and some of the complicated twists and turns of some of the step classes saw the demise of both. The short lived ‘Reebok Slide’ made a brief appearance but very quickly gave way to the resurgence of circuit training. The gym ball was popular for a while but potential injury issues have seen the demise of that too.

Many other classes have been popular since the 1980s but some methods of exercise have remained constant. Running for instance has been popular throughout as has weight training and circuit training in all of its many forms from kettle bell to body pump, bootcamp and HIIT training.

Exercise in the great outdoors has gained popularity with various classes and clubs taking advantage of the gym provided by nature. I often use trees and hills for props when out training with clients.

Science has played a huge roll in the progression of our exercise and diet programmes but when I look back over the last 23 years it is evident to me that the basic philosophy of ‘exercise more often and don’t eat too much’ has remained constant throughout.

We have learned some important lessons though. Probably the most important lesson being, cross training is ‘King’ if you are to avoid injury. Cycling, running and walking all call on muscle groups to perform repetitive movements which in turn can result in repetitive strain injury (RSI) so the supporting muscles need to be exercised too in order to maintain joint strength and stability.

Having swapped my running training for Nordic Walking because of its potential for a low impact but high intensity alternative I have been able to observe the movements of my clients much more easily. With addition of my Biomechanics coaching courses I have learned how better to interpret those minor movement discrepancies and help people to move more freely.

My messages here are simple. Exercise has changed but the principles remain the same; be prepared to cross train to avoid RSI and joint/tendon/nerve problems. Exercise regularly to maintain your fitness and help control your weight. Balance and stability are essential for injury prevention but be prepared to accept help and advice from experienced and qualified professionals.

You may recall that I said “as a Biomechanics Coach and masseur I rarely see the area of pain or discomfort as the primary cause. By observation and testing I locate the cause of the problem.”

Perhaps now is a good time to reflect on your own training to see how you can improve it and make it safer. I have observed many different forms of exercise over the years and have identified problem areas that have resulted in injuries for people several years in advance.

My most popular and effective tool is Biomechanics Coaching which studies ‘Intrinsic Biomechanics’. When I talk about core stability I am looking at the exercises that should be done before pilates or gym work.

If you would like to come to my presentation and demonstration on Biomechanics Coaching on Sunday March 9 get in touch.