Every year you have a mammogram. You schedule a blood draw and physical. You keep up with the dentist and eye doctor. Colonoscopy and bone density tests. And any other, 40+ year old test that is recommended.
But why do you not schedule a yearly movement screen with a physical therapist?
It’s a thing, you know.
Think about it, do you know any adult that doesn’t complain about an injury or aches and pains on a daily basis? I’m hear to tell you that sitting less and moving more, and by moving more I mean moving well, (which might mean re-learning how to move and strengthening your weak muscles under the guidance of a physical therapist) can make all the difference. It is one of THE most important things you can do for injury prevention. And just as important as all those other yearly tests you are so good about scheduling.
Yearly movement screens not only will identify your muscular imbalances, but will help you achieve pain free movement patterns (leading to more gains in the gym), help you to avoid surgery and pain reducing/addictive meds, and will drastically reduce your aches and pains (yes, please!).
I’ve had several movement screens and they’ve all been a little different, depending on what they’ve found, but most PT’s will check your walking/running gait, squat pattern, and core strength. They will also check your mobility (ability to move freely and easily) and stability (the ability to maintain control of joint movement or position by coordinating the movement of surrounding tissues and the neuromuscular system.) in your shoulders, hips, and ankles.
Btw, you do not need a referral to see a PT. You can pay out of pocket to have an expert on body mechanics watch you move and find your weaknesses (trust me, you have them). A movement screen is usually around $100. You know, the same price as a massage, haircut, or new pair of jeans.
If you are approaching 40, or well beyond your 40’s, it’s a safe bet that you have some muscular imbalances causing your daily aches and pains. Nothing to be ashamed of, nor does it mean you need to work harder in the gym. It simply means you might have some muscles that aren’t quite firing when they need to…and other muscles that are working over time. Most muscular imbalances are caused by unbalanced training (doing way more quad work than hamstrings), work related tasks and poor posture.
The main function of the muscular system is movement. In order to accomplish this, muscles must work in groups known as agonists and antagonists. One group produces the movement (contracts) while the other group opposes the movement. Imagine a biceps curl, while the bicep is contacting (shortening), the tricep is relaxing (lengthening). This relationship between muscles is based on the strength and length of the muscles around a joint. Therefore a muscular imbalance occurs when one of these muscles are shorter or weaker than the other.
For example, the knee (particularly the ACL) can become susceptible to injury when the hamstrings are weak compared to the quads. Same situation in our shoulders when the anterior deltoids (front of the shoulders) and our pecs (chest muscles) are stronger and shortened (due to over use, hello computers!) in relation to the muscles of the back.
Because I want you to move well, be strong, and pain free, I created the Balanced Body Guide. The exercises featured in the (free!) guide are some of the exact injury prevention exercises that I program for my clients as well as for myself. They will keep your shoulders, knees, and low back (because seriously, who doesn’t have low back pain) happy and injury free.
Grab your free Balanced Body Guide here…and then go schedule that movement screening and report back.