“It’s all about getting out and doing something.” This commonly used statement gives me the same mixed feelings every time I hear it! As an exercise physiologist and a wellness trainer, I take responsibility to debunk as many exercise and training “myths” that are in existence and common practice today — and there sure are a lot of them. In general, exercise is good, but not every exercise is right for you.
There are no shortage of online fitness experts and articles advising you on how to get back into shape. Often, the advice given is based on the assumption that we’re dealing with a perfect world, a 20 something body and all the time in the world. None considers nor compensates for all the little injuries, wear and tear that you have suffered over the years.
Week after week, studies tout the benefits of exercise. While online resources can inspire you in countess ways to get moving, you likely won’t learn the correct way to squat or dead lift via YouTube.
The monkey see, monkey do mentality could, in fact, be a recipe for disaster.
If you don’t have enough mobility at each joint to perform an exercise safely, then any part of your body is at risk for injury.
If injuries have made you inconsistent in your exercise regiment, i.e. a yo-yo exerciser, but you want to stay active and move better than people 20 years your junior then you have to figure out what exercises are right for you.
The perfect example of an exercise that I will be covering today will be the Spin Class. Spin classes happen to be one of the most popular of all forms of exercise in existence today, and they also happen to be one of the most damaging of all forms of exercise if not done right.
I would cover the reasons why they are so popular in the near future, but now, I will cover a few problems that I have encountered with clients that regularly did spin class.
If we analyze the biomechanics of what is happening when a person is on a spin bike, it’s relatively easy to see that it bears a similarity to that of a person who is sitting at a desk. If anything, it’s a more exaggerated version, with more pronounced ranges of motion, than that of a person at a desk. Why is this detrimental? As I have mentioned several times before, wiring in a seated position into your biomechanical structure goes directly against the biology of how a human being rests and moves. There are certain integrated movement patterns the body needs to go through in order to sustain balance, and seated positions are at the root of the imbalances created by our culture. This puts spin class in that same category, only that second for second, it carries more detriment to the human body than regular seated positions.
The worst part about spin is the implementation of intensity while you are in a seated position. When you’re sitting doing nothing, time takes its course to develop the imbalances of hip flexion, thoracic flexion, external hip rotation, etc… With spin, not only are you in the seated position, but you’re activating the musculature responsible for creating most of the imbalances mentioned prior. That means you will speed up the process of dysfunction in the body through the use of improper muscular activations happening at an extreme level. Couple that with the sitting you already do at work, and you have yourself a recipe for a complete disaster.
The same applies to people with a Kyphosis (poor posture, rounded back) doing the barbell squats on their back.
My final thoughts are that exercises when done incorrectly, are most likely to reward with injury rather than a fit and healthier body. Worst yet, those exercises you are currently doing could be causing your body to deteriorate so far that the only option is to do major surgery.
I would highly recommend that you should meet with someone who specialized in “corrective training” CPT or “biomechanics specialist” or Personal Trainer who understands helping people with mobility & corrective training.
They could help you selecting which exercise are beneficial for you and what exercises you should avoid.
Clearly as I listed above “Exercise is good, but not every exercise is right” those exercises you currently doing could be quite damaging to your body and could age you faster.
The time magazine released 2017 Special edition issue about “The Science of Exercise”
Applying the science behind your exercises to become “YOUNGER, SMARTER & STRONGER”