Bad knees? Bum shoulder? Weak back?
It’s nearly impossible to help someone if they won’t help themselves. If you want to lose weight but you’re in pain, you’re inflexible, you can’t squat, or you can’t lift your arm, you need a physiotherapist before an exercise program. Harsh? Maybe…but in the long run you’ll thank me.
You see, if you try to jump over a vast expanse chances are you won’t make it. So too, you can’t go from overweight and wracked with pain to lean, strong, and pain-free –you have to take steps in between.
Build A Bridge
Begin by shifting your focus (for the time being) into a mindset of health, ease of movement and vitality. (I know that sucks when you’re thinking lean and sexy but….) by correcting the acute condition, you’ll begin to feel better, more hopeful and confident. AND THEN YOU WILL LOSE THE WEIGHT. You’ll have the solid foundation necessary to undertake a realistic weight loss plan. Really, it’s the only way to progress.
Start Where You Are
“Pain management, physiotherapy, and a good flexibility program are a must in order to rehabilitate and move beyond painful physical conditions and achieve sustainable weight loss and good health.”
You want to lose weight yet an old and painful injury is stopping you in your tracks. You believe that if only you could dump the weight that injury would be tolerable, right? You think, “If I lost 20 (30, 50, 100) pounds; then I’ll feel good about myself, and then I’ll take better care of myself, and then my condition (painful shoulder, stiff hips, bad back) will heal. I’ll be happy and healthy if I lose the weight…..”
#1 It’s possible (sustainable weight loss) but not probable. In most cases the pain associated with a chronic condition saps your resolve to stick to a plan and limits your ability to perform proper exercise.
#2 Often it’s not even the original problem you’re dealing with now. (that’s why you need to see a professional) When you’re hurt and recovering from injury or surgery, your brain sends messages to protect the area (you use it less, and baby it more) and it grows weak with disuse. Ligaments and tendons shorten as movement is limited. The healing process itself causes scar tissue and that adds to the whole mess. You live in pain and pain holds you back.
It’s a vicious circle; you can’t move because you’re in pain and your pain continues because you can’t move. And it goes without saying; you’ll probably not reach your weight loss goals with so much physical chaos….ugh!
You Can’t Get There From Here
Action Eight participant Julie V. has been dealing with this nightmare existence for years. She’s not overweight but wants a healthy, active retirement and a strong body. She wants to ease her painful joints. She wants to minimize the symptoms of menopause, and she wants to keep her metabolism stoked to avoid inevitable age-related weight gain.
She wants to manage her aging but she has to begin where she is now, and that’s in constant pain.
“Julie knew that she had to keep moving but tightness in her joints, chronic pain and resulting muscle imbalances kept her from full range exercise form. After physio she’s limber enough to squat deeper and do more in the gym than ever before.”
Julie began experiencing excruciating pain in her hips more than 6 years ago. She couldn’t do her job and went on modified duties. She was diagnosed with torn tissues and bone spurs (most likely caused from years of wear and tear from sports combined with heredity). After surgery to scrape the spurs and repair the tears, she was left with limited range of motion, still in chronic pain, experiencing sleepless nights and had little hope of breaking the cycle.
“Today. Finishing a workout with a stretch in a lengthened supine pose. This position used to cause so much discomfort that she couldn’t sleep well at all. With therapeutic manipulation, daily stretching and a good weight-bearing exercise program things are beginning to change for the better!”
As the joints heal, new issues arise. Scar tissue that forms to protect the healing body parts cause painful inflexibility. Unfortunately her decision to stop physiotherapy limited her ability to maintain a reasonable level of flexibility. She continued to exercise with the intention of living the best quality of life possible, but felt her efforts produced less advancement than she hoped.
When we began working together several months ago I explained that she’d have to address inflexibility before she could even hope to further strengthen her body. Her mindset and determination was perfectly poised for very healthy aging yet the her body’s tightness made it impossible to perform exercise optimally.
“Very subtle differences make the world of difference in someone healing from trauma and is experiencing painful movement. A taller posture and a hopeful outlook is just as thrilling as dramatic weight loss. Julie feels the difference and very encouraged by what can be seen in her comparisons and more by what can’t be seen. Her pain is not getting the best of her!”
Now on The Action Plan and back to therapy, Julie is seeing and feeling a big difference. It’s still uncomfortable for sure, but now she has the confidence and guidance that will help her achieve her goals, maintain a good level of physical strength and has hope for a pain-free future.
“By working on flexibility first, her workouts serve to strengthen lengthened muscles, tendons and ligaments instead of reinforcing tight, restricted areas. She stands taller and her postural improvements are the first sign that muscles are responding and working as they should. Exercise form and function continues to improve and Julie’s growing confidence keeps her active and engaged in her training.”
Begin with Where You Are
If you want to lose weight but you’re in pain, get therapy! Even if you’re not overweight, treat the pain for a better quality of life and health. Commit to it for a lifetime if you must!
Exercise will not “cure” genetic conditions nor heal injury but weight-bearing exercises are important for pain sufferers. Resistance training can strengthen muscles around the joint that hurts. The stronger the muscle is, the less pain you are likely to feel in that joint, but you have to get help to get to the point where weight lifting is possible. You have to get beyond the pain.
Get Fit Over 40
When I was starting out as a trainer I thought I could help everyone. I thought that if only people would start exercising they could achieve their goals through sheer willpower. I know better now. The Action Plan is not for everyone. If you’re experiencing pain or dealing with acute or chronic conditions please start by seeing a medical professional. Work with a reputable personal trainer as you begin your exercise journey back to good health.
The plan will work optimally when your body works optimally. Do it for yourself and do it today. A world of possibilities will open to you when you take the first steps!
Wishing you the best health!