Welcome to our May newsletter celebrating Mother's Day
Firstly, I’d like to wish all the mothers reading my newsletter a veryHappy Mother’s Day! I wouldn’t be where I am today if it were not for the love and support my mother, Jo Ann, continues to provide to me. And now I have the joy of watching my wife, Lori, be an amazing mother to our 6 month old, Jackson.
As I was looking for ideas to write in this month’s newsletter, I thought about the many mothers I have worked with in my career. I’ve also been thinking a lot about how the country is healing from the pandemic, and life returning to a “new normal”. In the healthcare and fitness industry, this involves the return to gyms, yoga, Pilates, and running groups. After injury, surgery or sickness, I’m commonly asked: “What’s the best exercise for me?” And as we slowly wake up from the pandemic and look to improve our physical and mental health, once again I am being asked:
“What’s the best exercise for me?”
Today, I’d like to answer that question for you.
At a conference I attended two years ago, attendees shared their stories of attempting to exercise before and after surgery, success and failures alike. Most tried some sort of exercise such as group exercise classes, weights, Spinning, yoga and running but eventually stopped due to pain. In today’s article, I want to speak to you about the process of choosing the right exercise program for yourself so that you can set yourself up for success rather than failure.
As a physical therapist, I am used to people asking “What’s the best exercise for me?” My clients are men and women, fit and sedentary, young and old, with an assortment of injuries and varied degrees of pain severity. As a matter of fact, my clients have usually asked their friend, family member, doctor or other healthcare provider this question long before meeting me. And with the best intentions, an answer of “You should walk on the treadmill, join a gym to lift weights, take a swimming class, or start running.” The problem with these responses is that it doesn’t truly connect with you or the situation you are in. Early in my career I couldn’t wait to rattle off lists of exercises and routines that I felt would improve my client’s pain and injuries, but then I noticed a strong common theme. “I hate to run. I’ve never done yoga before. I don’t know how to lift weights. I don’t have access to a gym or pool. I don’t feel comfortable going to a gym. My work (or family) schedule is too hectic to commit to an exercise program.”
So, to answer your question of “What’s the best exercise for me?” should be followed with another question:
"What is your goal?"
Every person has a different goal. Common goals clients first talk about are: “I want to be stronger. I want to be more fit. I want to get rid of my pain. I want to lose weight. I want to return to my favorite exercise routine. I want to feel like me again!” This is a wonderful start and I encourage clients to be more specific. What do you want to be stronger, fitter, healthier, in less pain to do? “I want to have less pain so I can go back to work. I want to be stronger to walk up my driveway and stairs again. I want to have more energy so I can cook for my family.” The more specific you can be at naming your goals, the better you can plan your exercise program.
Now you must identify, “What exercise or physical activities do you like to do?” This is so important! Again, as an expert on exercise, I can rattle off lists of exercises that it would make your head spin. Healthcare providers, friends and family will tell you what they think you should be doing. But if you have no interest whatsoever in the exercise or activity that was suggested to you, then I can guarantee that you will not do it and start working towards your very important goals. So, then what’s the point?
I recommend that you think about activities that you truly enjoy and have fun with. Again, this is different for everyone, that is why it is so important for you to identify what you like to do. If you are a fan of socializing and being around others, then check out a gym’s group exercise or yoga class schedule. Yearning for some quiet time, then try a meditation podcast to practice your deep breathing. Enjoy some fresh air then get outdoors for a walk, hike or bicycle ride. Used to enjoy the toning feeling you got after lifting weights, then try some squats, planks or grab some water bottles for arm curls. If it’s just been way too long due to pain and injury since you were able to participate in your fun activities, then partner with a physical therapist who can show you how to get rolling safely.
When it comes to exercising, finding time can be difficult. Mother's can especially relate to trying to find enough time and energy in the day to make a workout happen, but it doesn't have to be difficult.
Check out these 6 ideas to utilize everyday life in making sure you get your workout in!
Interested in finding the right solution without medication or surgery? Contact us regarding our FREE 30 minute Discovery Session. Dr. Jim Palmer, PT, DPT will learn about how pain and injury has affected your life, and solutions that he can provide.
Palmer Concierge Physical Therapy
667 Madison Avenue4th & 5th Floors
New York, NY 10065
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