Thursday, January 21, 2010

Opinions from Other Professionals, and More Reason to Not Sit

Frequently my clients are receiving, or have received, advice and treatment from other health and fitness professionals about an issue also presented to me.  The other professional could be anyone from a pilates instructor to an orthopedic surgeon.  This is great- we all have different perspectives and the client gets a broad range of advice.

It is always a pleasure to hear "That's just what my doctor/chiropractor/physical therapist/personal trainer/yoga teacher said!"  Despite the differences in our education and roles, we often say the same thing.  It's nice to know that we're all in sync, and hopefully this motivates the client to follow our advice.  By no coincidence the proper form for lifting a barbell, holding common yoga poses, or sitting in a chair is quite similar.  After all, you are using the same body.

A yoga teacher may tell a student to "open your heart" in a pose, and a strength coach may say "make your chest big" while doing a lift.  Both are describing good posture.  Both are also making a suggestion about an emotional outlook, although different ones(but complementary, yin and yang.)  A physical therapist or I might say to keep the shoulders in line with the torso, not in front because that could over stretch the muscles of the upper back and impinge nerves in the shoulder.  The client ends up getting the same alignment recommendation in very different contexts.

Occasionally my opinion differs from another expert's.  The difference may be because of what the client has told us, goals we are given, or it could be an actual disagreement.  In those cases I try to show some humility and make sure that the client understands that what I say is just my opinion, albeit an opinion based on my training and experience in bodywork.  I explain my reasoning, and I always make sure to explain that my opinion is not medical advice.   Further, if there is ever a conflict between what I say and what a doctor or other more highly trained professional says, then the other's counsel takes precedence.

Still, when a client told me that he had been diagnosed with plantar fasciitis by a podiatrist and asked for my advice, after I gave him a long explanation and treatment plan for the the condition I had to smile a bit when he exclaimed "I should have come to you first!"  Even when I know less, because I may have more time to speak with the client I can end up looking smart.

Whether there is agreement, disagreement, or, most often, different areas of focus, we're all working toward improving your health.

The essential distillation of my fitness advice is Don't Sit Down.  This simple rule both guides selection of useful exercises, and reminds to get up and stretch frequently at work, keeping you functionally fit and flexible.  From the New York Times, the article Too Much Sitting Shortens Lives, Study Suggests gives another reason.

Think about being at the gym, and consider this quote from the article: “For many people, on a daily basis, they simply shift from one chair to another — from the chair in the car to the chair in the office to the chair in front of the television”  Don't add "the chair on the exercise machine" to the list.  Instead stand, jump, hang, or roll around to work out.

1 comment:

  1. Sitting is my biggest enemy.
    From working 9+ hours a day at a desk job, and then attending class for ~ 5 hours a night 2-3 nights a week, I feel like i'm never off my bum.
    Just today though I decided to take advantage of my empty morning office and have set up an hourly exercise routine to keep my body moving. Now to just find ways to do the same at home/school. :)