I started working out with Sandra during the year I was planning my wedding. (2010). What blew me away immediately was how different her workouts were from most gyms and classes I’d been too. She starts with a complete warm up which involves getting the heart rate up, stretching and putting all the major joints through their range of motion, then there is an intense 20 minutes of combined cardio and weight training exercises often using your own body weight and a proper cool down and stretch including many yoga moves. Her exercises were challenging but safe. I was never injured but always nice and sore from a good workout!
As a chiropractor, my concern is teaching patients to take care of their bodies before injury strikes. Body awareness and an understanding of safe, effective exercise is the key. There is a an “exercise culture” which often promotes certain exercises or habits simply because it’s what we are used to. Today there is so much research being done on fitness that we really need to make sure our physical activity is rooted in evidence based teaching, a combination of the expertise of the instructor and research.
Group exercise is an excellent way to get in shape and a great social activity. Whether you’re a seasoned athlete or rebounding from an injury, it’s important to be able to tell the difference between the burn that comes with challenging yourself or the pain of injury. For example, if you’re doing a plank, you should not feel back pain. If you do, you are not doing the exercise correctly.
If you have had a recent injury or are recovering from a back injury, it is important to remember that any exercise or movement that reproduces your pain is not right for you at this time. Speaking with a health care provider or fitness instructor that understands body mechanics will help you realize which exercises and stretches to start with and how to build endurance for challenging new activities.
There are also exercises that are historically done to strengthen the abs or the back but research has found them to do more harm than good. The prime example is sit-ups. Doing a sit up compresses the spine, especially in the lower back and put a great deal of pressure on your discs. Done repetitively this type of movement can result in in back pain, disc herniations and sciatica. Alternatives that will strengthen your core without bending the spine are planks, side bridges, and leg extensions.
Remember that every person is different and just because an exercise exists or a machine is in the gym, does not mean it’s the right one for you. Also it’s important to get proper instruction on how to perform an exercise. It is better to do fewer repetitions correctly than many repetitions incorrectly as this can also increase your risk of injury.
If you are unsure about an exercise or have a history of injury, consult a trusted source before you start. And here http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=033ogPH6NNE
watch my favourite biomechanics professor set you straight about abdominal exercises in 4 minutes!
Dr. Shima Shahidy, BSc, DC
Chiropractor, Acupuncture & Graston Technique Provider
Wellness for the Body
2418 Lakeshore Road West