Blog# 136 Slow and Steady Wins
The words STRENGTH and STABILITY, can finish that thought: Slow and Steady Wins Strength and Stability. After having conversations with several patients, I decided it would be helpful to remind you about this principle and to explain the how and why. Specifically, I am referring to exercises geared to rehabilitation after an injury or to prevent a recurrence of an injury. It is important to do rehabilitative exercises prescribed by an Orthopedist, Chiropractor or Physical Therapist slowly, focusing on having full control of each part of the exercise, otherwise it is possible to worsen an injury by reinforcing a joint’s misalignment. Plus, slow, focused exercise, correctly done, challenges and ultimately strengthens muscles more than does rapid exercise. If you are not aware of this, just lift a five pound weight quickly in a biceps curl. Then, do the same curl slowly. Since slower-paced exercise challenges muscles and joints more, allowing muscle fibers to fire somewhat more independently, it is important to compensate for the slower pace by decreasing the weight or tension used. Eventually, when the muscles and joints are stronger and more stable, it may be possible to increase the weight or tension. Also, it can be helpful to increase the repetitions of an exercise, say, from eight to ten to twelve prior to increasing the weight.
Steady refers to being mentally focused during an exercise in order to maintain alignment. It also can refer to continuing exercises day after day, week, after week, month after month. An excellent way to maintain strength and stability and to reduce the chance of re-injury or even of sustaining a different type of injury is to continue with some stabilizing and rehabilitating exercises, and to not slack off when you are stronger and no longer feel pain. I will give you an example from my own life. Decades ago, I suffered a severe knee injury. For years, I was able to manage this myself without surgery. However, eventually the knee began locking and I needed to have the torn lateral meniscus repaired. All was stable for about three years, and then my knee began to wobble and pop whenever I climbed stairs. Eventually, I began a series of eight daily exercises, which took about 20 minutes. In eight months, I missed three days. And at the end of those eight months, the feeling of instability and the popping sound disappeared. They have never returned, and I continue to do the exercises daily, missing no more than one day a month. Sometimes it takes ongoing strengthening and stabilizing exercises to get results. Patience and discipline are important.
This blog’s offer: Contact me if you want to learn the eight exercises I continue to do to maintain knee strength and stability. I will teach you these in an hour for the cost of an office visit.