HomeNewsTrain don’t strain: building a physical capacity reserve

Train don’t strain: building a physical capacity reserve

-by Brad Zwart, PT, DPT,OCS • Orange City Area Physical & Occupational Therapy Mowing the lawn twice in a week, changing a tire, moving the furniture to vacuum, beating out a grounder to third base, fixing your retaining wall yourself … all potential causes of injury if they’re beyond your physical capacity. These are just a few examples of the stories I hear from people who are seeking help to return to normal function. Our minds are often stronger than our bodies, so we engage in tasks that are necessary and fun, and then often find out very quickly that our tissues (muscles, ligament, cartilage, bones) are not trained to tolerate what we’re asking them to do. What we did last summer might be beyond the capability of our bodies at the beginning of this summer because we lost our physical capacity reserve through lack of use during the winter. Our bodies have an amazing ability to respond to appropriate amounts of stress (training), giving us the ability to accomplish more necessary and fun activities. Too much stress (strain) decreases our function until healing and building up through training at the right intensity occurs. Hence the saying: Train Don’t Strain! Replaces “No pain No gain.” Training will give you the reserve you need to confidently perform tasks with in your capacity. Knowing you’ve been training by lifting weights through the winter will let you confidently move flower pots or retaining wall blocks in the spring. Some general training principles to build a physical capacity reserve so you don’t Strain:
  • Start out with a mindset of “pre-training” so you can get to a level of training you envision yourself attaining. The intensity of pre-training doesn’t seem like much but your body will begin to respond to that stress and start building physical capacity without straining.
  • Rest is vital – your body doesn’t get stronger while your exercising, it builds while you rest after the exercise. Exercise is the trigger for your DNA to begin building a reserve for the stress it’s experiencing. A day off every few days and varying your types of exercise or activity qualifies as rest.
  • Pain or weakness that lingers a week or more, dramatically impacts the way you live your life, and impedes on a good night’s sleep should be addressed by a visit to a doctor or physical therapist to help ensure that it will start improving, and you can learn ways to help yourself decrease your painful experience and get back to building your reserve.
  • Work with a personal trainer or physical therapist to develop strategies to most efficiently build your physical capacity reserve.