Updated: Feb 3
It took me quite some time to figure this one out for myself. Six knee surgeries, to be exact. Early in my career, I worked at a country club in Long Island where I spent my days treating golfers with all types of ailments. One aging veteran of the PGA tour used to tell me often, “Life is a marathon, not a sprint.” This gentleman lived by these words as he would let me know every week he was never quite ready to ramp up his routine.
What I first mistook for laziness now seems like genius. Working with a professional athlete in one of the few sports whose playing career can last a lifetime and know his limits is not common these days. We live in a time when the extreme is thought to be the norm, and not only athletes but weekend warriors push themselves to the limit. Despite the best intentions, the result is not always what is expected.
As the Super Bowl nears, we see younger athletes (along with one outlier who happens to play quarterback for the Tampa Bay Bucs) push their bodies to the limit. Their training regime seems to mimic that of a United States Navy SEAL. This is all well and good, but there comes a time when it’s a bit much and is the primary reason you hear about a 30 year old professional athlete called “Old.” I have seen people much younger than myself with joints that are in bad shape. Despite popular belief, it is not due to a significant injury, just repetitive strain over and over.
Our bodies are the perfect vessel to accomplish everything it is that we want to do. We can move faster, improve our balance, and decrease the risk of injury through proper training. One of the downsides is that life does not follow a clear cut path. You can do everything right, but sometimes an injury out of your control can happen. You also can think you are eating the perfect balance of macronutrients, but your body type may need something different than you are giving it.
Remember, an injury doesn’t have to spell the end of whatever it is that you want to do. That is the moment you need to start training smarter. Training smarter means taking the time to understand your injury and the proper ways to go about safely exercising and adequately resting your body. Understandably your profession may not deal with the inner workings of human movement. Still, there are plenty of resources to give you a better idea of what to do. Finding a licensed physical therapist or experienced strength coach to provide you with a head to toe screening is your first step in working out smarter.
Yours in Health,