Life is about doing stuff in my book, but inherent to the ‘risk’ of that approach is niggles, occasional discomfort and even injury. But before you say “well there you go, that exercise thing is bad!”… in response to that, I see the two choices we have illustrated well by the following quote from someone wise: “if you live your life right the chances are you’ll end up in an orthopedist’s office, or if you live your life wrong, a cardiologist’s.” I think that may be a little alarmist, however I have had and continue to have musculo-skeletal ‘challenges’ shall we say. I accept it as part of the journey. But yes, I am confident my heart is likely to be in pretty good shape!
No one is perfect including me, and it is an ongoing battle to smooth out the ups and downs of an active life. I want to share a story about my body and what I aim to fine tune each year as I head towards 50 in April this year. So… tennis was my sport growing up, and a big part of the demands, was speed, agility, power, dynamic core stability, hand eye coordination and other elements of performance to a greater or lesser degree, as well as speed endurance, aerobic capacity and mobility. All this movement was great but the one sided nature of it led to imbalances. Although my competitive days of tennis are many years in my rear view mirror (I don’t rule out making a geriatric comeback at some point), I still wear the consequences now at various times. Hence the point of this article. You can’t keep taking from your pool of resources, you have to give back. Consider the whole person and all that.
This past week I woke up with an inexplicable tweak in my mid back as I put foot to ground one morning getting out of bed. I used to get this type of thing and a whole lot worse happening quite regularly. Basically, it hurt all the time because I had pain each time I took a breath. Thus it was hard to avoid pain. I was in my mid 30s, and going into actual back spasm wasn’t unusual. I am talking a jolt of intense pain that would lay me out on the ground, rigid and unable to move for up to 60 minutes. Not good. I was in essence disabled. I saw a lot of different specialists – so called experts. Without exception they would look at the area of pain but not the source. Whilst I had minor relief, no one ever really addressed the ‘why’.
It wasn’t until I saw specialist myotherapist Steve Lockhart in Sydney, where I lived at the time, that I started to get some more serious long term relief. To be fair, I had been pretty stupid. I continually asked questions of my body that the 25 year old version could have easily answered, but the older and under trained version clearly could not. Whilst l looked the same (ish – thanks to my mum and genetics) at 37 as I did at 25, my physical capabilities were way different and I kept re-injuring myself. It was, in the end, the combination of Steve’s massage and my acceptance and understanding that I needed to work on core strength, dynamic core stability, and a sensible progressive loading, that I began to restore reliable function and live pain free.
The reason I mention all this, besides trying to give you valuable information that may help you avoid the mistakes I made, is to talk about two practitioners who are now part of my own holistic approach to health, fitness and performance. As alluded to earlier, I still make mistakes and I can be a slow learner, which is why I had a minor tweak in my back this week. I will say in my defence though, that I was fully aware of the importance and high priority of putting in place a strong preventative maintenance program and indeed was close to actually doing it (classic procrastination which I see often in others ‘thinking about’ changing some aspect of their life). I strongly encourage our valued members of Best Practice in Bowen Hills of this preventative approach – all the time in fact. Anyway, I digress. I was unfortunately a bit behind schedule with implementation myself.
Anyway, I saw (and will continue too see) two awesome practitioners – Matt Platz of Alderley Chiroprcatic and Andrew Ahern (ex student of Steve Lockhart), neck and back pain specialist, now operating out of our premises in Allison Street, Bowen Hills. Andrew is a qualified Podiatrist and SLM (Steve Lockhart previously mentioned) practitioner. The good news is that I am firmly back on track and all the little niggles (actual injuries if I am to be honest with myself – diagnosed bursitis in my left hip and right knee, a torn forearm flexor and suspected left shoulder impingement syndrome) are diminishing.
Yes I have been in a mess for a bit. My excuse? A bit too much focus on my business and my clients, and not enough on my own physical being. Charity starts at home huh? The oxygen should go to you first in the emergency, then you can help those around you. The moral of this long story? Holistic health is about all of you, the yin and the yang. You can’t keep taking from the pool of resources that is your body and expect to have no repercussions. The ‘take’ can also be totally ignoring any physical work (as well as too much) but that is another longer post!
Think, eat and move better folks! The future of quality personal training is a judicial consideration of all these moving parts and a strategic focus on your highest priorities at the various points of time in your journey. If this makes sense to you feel free to contact me and have a chat about where you are at and where you want to go.
Post script: This was published originally in Linked In in Feburary last year. The essential message was true then and still is now but Steve Lockhart himself actually currently massages out of Bowen Hills on every second Friday.
And yeah now I am heading towards 51 with 50 in the rearview mirror!