If you log onto social media these days, chances are you’ve seen the quote “Strong Is The New Skinny” printed on a photo of a ripped fitness model. As a Physical Therapist and lifelong fitness enthusiast, I absolutely love this quote. Finally people are caring about their health and how they feel rather than the number on the scale; however this quote also makes me cringe a bit. I’ll explain why.
This day in age, technology is a huge part of our lives, and unfortunately with that comes a lot of sitting in front of a computer screen or looking down at our devices. No judgment though…I’m just as guilty as the next person. Stop where you are right now and check out your posture…no cheating. Chances are your rear end is sliding forward in your chair, which makes your shoulders rounded and your head projected forward. Now, just for fun, scoot your butt all the way back in your seat, sit up tall, and bring your shoulders back. I’ll bet you’re thinking, “Wow, this is a lot more work!!”…well, you’re right. Your core muscles are responsible for holding the spine upright. Good posture requires those muscles to work. If those muscles are not trained and strong, then it’s just easier to slouch. If you find yourself slouching, you may need to strengthen your core.
As the saying goes in the Physical Therapy world, “Proximal Stability = Distal Mobility”. That’s basically a fancy way of saying; when our core muscles are strong, they can hold our spine upright and stable, so our extremities can work efficiently off that stable base. So, here lies the problem. If someone starts a new exercise program or they’re consistently participating in heavy or dynamic exercise activities without appropriate core strength to support proper technique, then that person is putting themselves at great risk for injury. Core weakness creates poor patterns and mechanics during exercise. Just think of how much work it was to sit upright with good posture…now imagine beginning a new workout routine without a stable foundation. A weak core feeds into poor mechanics with lifting, jumping, or dynamic exercise, which can lead to pain and injury in the knees, back, hips, shoulders, neck, etc. as a result of tendonitis, inflammation, bulging disks, muscle strains, etc. It is essential to teach your body the proper mechanics and ensure that you’re “strong” enough to begin these more difficult exercises using good mechanics.
So, have you made “Strong Is The New Skinny” your motto? If so, that is fantastic!! But, please, consult a professional and address your core stability and body mechanics before you attempt to dead-lift 200 lbs or perform a box jump as high as your waist. Physical Therapists are movement specialists that can properly evaluate and treat your specific needs. We WANT you to lead an active and high quality life. Don’t be sidelined by a preventable injury.
If you have questions regarding initiation of a new exercise routine or would like an evaluation of your posture and body mechanics, I would love to help you! Give our office a call at 618-288-4233. We are conveniently located on Route 159 in Glen Carbon, IL.