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The Number One Key to a Pain Free Weekend

I learned this lesson with my 9-year-old son.  He has taken up competitive swimming and he seems to have some natural ability. He has d26 Exerciseone
quite well in his butterfly and freestyle races. 

His season just finished and we were talking about signing him up for swimming again next year.  He said, “Dad, since I did so well at the races and I didn’t really like practice, I think next year I will just do the competitions and not do any practices.”

I smiled because I knew exactly what he meant.  How many things in my life do I wish were like that?  I would really love to have six pack abs and not go to the gym (still waiting for the six pack by the way!).  I would enjoying doing a few triathlon races this summer and not have to put the time in training in the pool and on the road.  I would love to eat whatever I want and maintain my body weight.  Wouldn’t that be nice

Sadly, as we all know, life doesn’t work that way.  I talked with my son about how he thought his swim times would change if he never went to practice.  I wanted him to understand that his race results had less to do with the day of the race and more to do with the time he spent at practice day in and day out, strengthening his body and improving his fitness.

I have learned this lesson in my own life (and still continue to learn it over and over).  But it doesn’t just apply to competition.  The same laws apply to your weekend golf or baseball game.  Even working in the garden or cutting the grass.  Basically, any physical activity will be easier or harder for you based on the work you put in throughout the year.

I have noticed this in particular over the last week or two since the weather has changed.  The sun has finally come out and the air is warm.  People are getting to do all the outdoor things they have not been able to do for 8-9 months.  In many cases the result is pain or injury.

The number one reason these activities tend to aggravate us more in the spring than at the end of the summer is conditioning.  It takes time to stretch and strengthen the muscles and ligaments required to swing a baseball bat or a golf club.  By September you are stronger because you have been doing the activity for several months.

Here is a very practical example.  I spoke with a patient who is a landscaper.  He is a relatively young and fit guy.  He said tat for years, every spring when he started working outdoors again he would have low back pain for the first 6 weeks or so.  However, the last two years he has been doing CrossFit all winter to stay strong (instead of being inactive and on the couch).  The result?  You guessed it.  Two seasons free of back pain in the spring work season.

Not all of us are competitive athletes or landscapers but we all want to be active and do the things we love.  Our ability to keep doing these things, and staying injury free is dependent on what we do in the “off season”.  Don’t wait until spring.  Keep up your “training” throughout the year so you can avoid injury right now.

Dr. Craig

PS. Not sure what activity is right for you?  I would be happy to help. Our Move By Design workshops are engineered to get you moving in a safe, effective way whether you’re young or mature, used to exercise or never done it at all.  Grab a friend and click on the link below to reserve your seats this TUESDAY JUNE 6th at 6:30 pm here at Elevate Chiropractic.  See you there!


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