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The importance of strength – for everybody!

Strength is a crucial component of a happy, pain free, resilient body. Every day as an osteopath, I will diagnose and treat painful conditions which have partly arisen from a lack or imbalance of strength in the body. Building strength can be a fundamental part of a patient’s recovery and ongoing health. It is often forgotten, however, or replaced with stretching.

Strength is not only the ability to lift heavy things, it is the ability of your body to cope with the demands that you place upon it. It’s all about capacity. Does your body have capacity to successfully perform the tasks that you would like to achieve?

Do you have the strength to do the gardening, do you have the strength to run 5K, and do you have the strength to repetitively bend forward without aggravating your back? If you are stiff or in pain the day after gardening, the answer to this is probably ‘no’.

Sedentary lifestyles and inactivity are a huge contributing factor to a lack of strength. We cannot continue to simply recruit strength on the weekend to run or do the gardening if, throughout the week, we have been mostly sitting. We have to realise the importance of continuing to prepare our bodies for activity, through regular, continued exercises that promote strength.

We do not have to spend hours in the gym to stay strong; we just have to remind our bodies to move regularly. Find exercises that reflect the activities you would like to be better at. If you are a keen runner, you need strength in your glutes to manage the impact of running on your hips and knees. If you are doing these exercises lying down, rather than standing, then ask yourself if the exercise reflects the movements of the hip during running.

As we age, due to inactivity, we will lose muscle mass. This lowers our capacity to perform hobbies and day to day tasks successfully. This limits our longevity, makes us more prone to injury and can lower our quality of life. By becoming more active and adding the appropriate strengthening movements into your routine, you can stay strong and capable. We need to invest in our strength and capacity, if you keep the tank full you can call upon that strength when required. If you run close to empty, you may begin to break down and put excess stress into your system.

The prevent and invest messages are often then least effective catalysts for change. We tend to tackle more immediate problems or wait for an issue to arise before we act. But, you only have one body. There are no silver bullets for longevity and it is not luck of the draw. Invest in your strength for the long term.

Speak to Neil to find out more about the 1:1 movement programs available at the Clinic on the Hill.

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