Friday, September 10, 2010

Tennis Shoulder, and Exercise Without Electricity

A good fitness article from the NYT:
Phys Ed: How to Fix a Bad Tennis Shoulder
"...the authors... concluded that years of “intensive tennis practice may be a predisposing factor for the development of mild degenerative articular changes in the dominant shoulder.”"
The injury, the reason it can occur, and how to prevent it are discussed.  The readers' comments are quite informative as well.

Tennis is an example of an activity with great health benefits, and also some limitations.  First, it's a fun, social way to get exercise and keep moving.  I like that you are on your feet, coordinating footwork and the racket, and reacting quickly to the other player.  Moving in all directions, especially side-to-side is a big plus.

The downside is that one arm gets used far more than the other, making similar movements constantly.  Particularly bad as discussed in the article is that the primary arm movement involves pullling the anterior shoulder forward- exactly the position that is the most common postural deviation in our society.  A person sits at a desk with the arms reaching forward, then plays a sport that involves more reaching forward.
"It may behoove anyone who plays competitive tennis to consider adopting the rotator-cuff strengthening routines long common in the pro ranks."
This is where Functional Strength Training comes in.  One aspect of functional training is to emphasize full range of motion exercise, and exercises that balance overuse from sports or life activities.  A sport like tennis, together with a complementary strength training program, is an ideal fitness solution.

A couple of days ago I was exercising at the gym when the power went out.  It was funny to see all the cardio machines instantly stop, but my dumbbells weren't affected at all.  Low tech exercise wins again!

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