The joint question – protect or strengthen?

The joint question – protect or strengthen?

Sadly we all break from time to time. Our bodies are not invincible. At any one time over 10 million adults in the UK are suffering from the effects of one of the 4 major musculoskeletal conditions – osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, osteoporosis and lower back pain. The most common symptoms of these are found in neck, shoulder, back, hip and knee pain.

Currently it is estimated that these conditions lead to 54% of all long term disabilities, and that their impact is set to increase dramatically in the future as we live longer, do less and eat more.

There is no doubt across all health and medical experts that exercise from the earliest possible age, is one of the most important keys to avoiding or at least managing musculoskeletal conditions that can become so horribly debilitating and even life limiting.

“Regular physical activity and exercise at every stage of life can reduce the risk of many musculoskeletal conditions, including arthritis, back pain, neck pain, falls and fractures. Indeed, many of the NICE guidelines on physical activity to prevent disease or improve health are directly relevant to musculoskeletal health.”
(Public Health England Jan 2016)

It is never too early and what’s more, exercise is never too late….
Exercise in teenage life helps us produce strong babies with strong bones and joints throughout their lives. Exercise in our 20s to middle age reduces, amongst other things, the probability of hip replacement in later life by 68%.And in your 70s even, you can reverse the effects of 15 years of inactivity through 3 months of weight bearing appropriate exercise. It really is never too late.

Having said that, the earlier you can start the better. You are more likely to prevent conditions taking hold, you are able to exercise at a higher intensity and you are less likely to become injured.

So many chronic musculoskeletal conditions start with a recurring pain or joint weakness. A slow to heal injury or stiffness. What do we do at this early stage ? Joint pain or injury is one of the most common reasons for people to stop their exercise or training routine. Many doctors very readily advise rest, and in some instances – this is absolutely the right thing to do. However, in my wide experience – and backed by the links below from the experts – strength and CV work (in most cases), really should continue. What you do may change. Impact work may well be a bad idea, as may sit ups for a bad back or lunges for the knees. But there is always an alternative, and always a fitness professional on hand to guide you, and help you keep that joint warm, strong and active through exercise.

After the 3 links below – I’ve added the inspirational stories of 2 of our clients this year. Both have lost weight and feel so good as a result of their change in fitness and lifestyle. But both have seen their joint conditions and pain reduce massively or simply disappear as a result of their exercise routines. In many cases – this benefit will be the one that has the greatest value to them throughout their lives.

Sandies Story
I’ve been training with Cathy since January and I started off with no willpower to move at all. I was very lazy when it came to working out.
My back hurt so much and sometimes it was so difficult to do anything. I was waiting for an appointment at the hospital for an CT scan to rule out joint issues as it was so painful. I also had a lot of problems with an old knee issue so I was feeling down in the dumps.
After some pep talks and encouragement from Cathy I got stuck in. She encouraged me each session and made me work hard to get where I needed to be.
After all this I have lost 3 stone this year and I am very pleased. I am a lot more confident and more active and I have almost totally lost the pain in my back and legs


Katies Story
Originally I signed up for PTs with Baz because I suffered with back ache and wanted help with strengthening. I thought a change in shape and fitness would be good, but didn’t expect too much because I don’t really like being told what to do and drank too much wine!
Baz has been awesome. He varies the exercises, keeps it interesting and makes sure I’m eating enough of the right foods rather than cutting calories – I’ve never eaten so much as I do now. He’s been great at encouraging and advising me on how to get healthy and strong, without preaching – he still pushes me but it isn’t annoying!
I didn’t expect to get the results I have. My posture and strength have improved and so my back ache is much better. I’ve enjoyed it so much it’s impacted my diet, lifestyle and drinking habits (I still probably drink too much but it’s progress). So far I’ve lost 1.5 stone, I’m stronger and toned, I feel less stressed, sleep better and my body shape has changed completely. I feel healthier, happier and more energetic! Thanks Baz :)