This is one of the most frequent questions I get asked as a physical therapist. The short answer is: a little bit of everything. But let’s talk more about this concept.
As we all know, a healthy and active lifestyle is important for both our physical and mental well being. Intentional movement of any type is a great way to maintain this lifestyle. That being said, most people tend to do whatever type of exercise they are most comfortable with or feel they are the best at.
Runners only run for exercise. Swimmers only swim. Weight lifters only lift weights. And the list goes on.
While it makes total sense to stay within your comfort zone when it comes to exercise, this can lead to overuse injuries, pain from a chronic overuse injury, and/or plateauing when trying to improve at a given activity. This is where variation becomes so very important.
Mixing It Up Matters
Changing up the type of exercise or even the intensity of a workout are two ways you can prevent injury or pain.
Changing up the type of exercise, more commonly known as cross-training, allows for different muscle group activation throughout the body. It also gives certain muscles a break, instead of continuously engaging them over and over. An example is incorporating strength training or Pilates into a workout routine that is mostly cardio. Or maybe incorporating walking, running, swimming or cycling into a workout routine that consists of mainly strength training.
Varying the intensity of your workouts during the week is another way to prevent injury and to help avoid adaptation. If we are constantly working out at the same intensity, our bodies eventually adapt and we stop seeing improvements. Adding high intensity exercises can push through these barriers. Conversely, adding low intensity exercises can give our muscles a chance to rest and recover.
Long story short, we should be doing a little bit of everything when it comes to preventing injury and pain. If you’re looking for where to start or need more guidance, Activcore is a great place to begin your journey. At our Druid Hills studio, we offer both physical therapy and performance training. This integrated approach allows our clients to gradually transition to performance before being discharged from physical therapy. It also gives our team a chance to collaborate and design an exercise program uniquely tailored for your health and wellness needs.
Contact us in Druid Hills to get started now.
Disclaimer: The views expressed in this article are based on the opinion of the author, unless otherwise noted, and should not be taken as personal medical advice. The information provided is intended to help readers make their own informed health and wellness decisions.