Steve Finnemore, Massage Therapist
Your fitness training could be leaving you unbalanced
Do you have a favourite fitness activity? If so, be careful to ensure that you don’t focus too much on only the muscles that you need for that one form of exercise. A common problem I see results from people focussing on only one aspect of their fitness – either working solely to increase muscle strength whilst ignoring their flexibility and aerobic fitness, or focussing only on aerobic fitness but not doing any strength or flexibility training.
The reasons that this approach can cause problems is because of the way that it ignores the fact that our bodies work holistically – strength, flexibility and aerobic fitness all working together to keep us moving easily and comfortably. To be truly physically fit we must pay attention to all of these aspects of fitness. For example, when a person only focuses on strength, they risk becoming inflexible and liable to injury. I see a number of clients who are very strong, but who have muscle stiffness, discomfort and mobility issues. This is especially the case in those who focus even more narrowly on the strength of one part of their body rather than training every muscle.
In people who focus solely on aerobic fitness, such as long-distance runners, I often see a lack of muscle strength in muscles other than the legs, which then also causes movement problems and discomfort in everyday life. In fact, endurance running, when not balanced by resistance work, can lead to some muscle loss overall. If you already have some issues, get myofascial release and massage therapy to free the restrictions. Then, whatever your favourite exercise, start treating your body as a whole –incorporate resistance training into your running programmes and stretching and movement alongside your weights work. Trust me, the benefits to your everyday mobility and comfort as well as your sport will be tremendous.