The things you owe to your body and health
In the pursuit of health and fitness, there is no place for...
• Eliminating all fat from your diet. If you eliminate all fat, you deprive your body of much needed nutrients. What you really need to do is avoid saturated fat and trans fat. That means read labels.
Polyunsaturated and monosaturated fats are the “good” fats and provide important nutrients and nutrition for your body. Those are found mainly in nuts, vegetable oils, and fish.
• No pain. No gain. Not really. The reality of it is that if you hurt during your workout, you are probably doing something wrong. Sure, it’s OK for it to be difficult for you, just not painful.
One thing we all need to learn is the difference between post-exercise soreness that comes from either pushing our limits or trying something new and pain after exercising that might be an indication that you have injured something. That’s where a relationship with a physical therapist could be handy.
I would like to see a world in which everyone has a physical therapist. You might talk about “my attorney” or “my accountant” but do you ever think about “my physical therapist?” It’s National Physical Therapy Month so I can get that plug in there.
But physical therapists have a great deal of expertise in musculoskeletal dysfunction and can offer techniques, exercises, and treatments that get at the cause of your problem.
• Not having a primary care physician. No excuse. You need someone that knows you and knows your medical history. Who greets you by name when they walk in the door because they know who you are.
• Not having colonoscopies and/or mammograms, if you are in any at-risk category. I was asked recently if I thought we would ever “cure” cancer. I said, for a large part, we already had.
Statistics reveal that about 65 percent of Americans diagnosed with cancer survive past the crucial 5 year mark. And for those that dismiss the quality of American medicine, that is significantly higher than the best to be found in the rest of the world.
Take leukemia for example. When I was a child, leukemia was a death sentence. There was no cure and hardly any treatment. While it is still a horrible disease, over 50 percent of the people diagnosed with leukemia survive to 5 years.
With early detection and treatment, female breast cancer has an 88.7 percent survival rate. As for colon cancer, with early detection the survival rate is almost 100 percent.
• Stretch before exercise to prevent injury. Nope. After. When your connective tissue is warmed up and more effectively stretched.
• Focusing on one body part in a workout. Oh, my, how many times have I heard that one. Today is “my arm day.” Or “leg day.” The most effective workouts engage multiple body parts. Every time. Only if you want to make it bigger do you ever isolate your workout on one muscle.
• Single rep max. If you lift weights, you know what I’m talking about. If you are preparing for a competition that will require you to perform a single repetition of a particular weight, it might be OK. But it is generally a formula for injury. And to what end?
You owe it to your body to investigate everything you do in the name of good health. There are too many fads, bad ideas, and misinformation out there to do anything less.
Joe Black, PT, DPT, SCS, ATC is a physical therapist and athletic trainer at Total Rehabilitation and is Manager of Outpatient Rehabilitation for Blount Memorial Hospital. Write to him at (firstname.lastname@example.org)