No pain No Gain? Polestar educator Karyn Staples PT, PhD, NCPT discusses how cross training, moderation and epsom salt might be crucial ingredients for the perfect fitness recipe.
When You Don’t LOVE your Exercise Anymore
It’s been nearly two months since you resolved to get more exercise. You started with the best intentions. You went to the gym. You were going to run your first race. But then your knee started to bother you. Or maybe it was your foot, your hip or shoulder. And the exercise didn’t seem so great anymore. The motivation to move is gone. It’s easy to become a couch potato.
What symptoms indicate that you need to see your doctor? According to Karyn Staples, PT, PhD, and lead physical therapist at ProHealth Physical Therapy and Pilates Studio, if you have pain while you’re at rest, pain that wakes you up in the middle of the night, or pain that lasts more than three days, it may be time to see a doctor.
“It’s normal to have muscle soreness twenty-four to forty-eight hours after exercise. If that soreness maintains the same intensity, and does not get any better seventy-two hours later, then you need to see your doctor.”
Staples explained, “It’s normal to have muscle soreness twenty-four to forty-eight hours after exercise. If that soreness maintains the same intensity, and does not get any better seventy-two hours later, then you need to see your doctor.” ProHealth offers Pilates-based physical therapy for those with a doctor’s referral. What does Staples recommend for pain after exercising? “The first thing is to take an Epsom salt bath,” she said. “When you next exercise, do a workout that is less intense. Walk instead of run. Lift weights that are less poundage.”
Karyn also recommends cross training at least once a week. “When you’re sore, if it’s purely muscle soreness from running too hard or too long, you want to do something that moves in a different way. Go through the range of motion for your joints, in a restorative yoga class, full body conditioning class, or a Pilates class.”
Pilates classes or private lessons create better movement.
Pilates classes or private lessons create better movement. How? “Pilates works on awareness of your body movement, working on the local stabilizing muscles. When we workout, we work the large global muscles—the ones that take you from Point A to Point B. We need the local stabilizing muscles to maintain the body in alignment so that the global muscles can do their job,” explained Staples.
One client, Emily, takes weekly Pilates lessons. “I don’t have an impressive physique or any great athleticism, and Pilates is perfect for me. Before Pilates, I would start exercise, and I would reinjure my knee and have to quit. So last year, I began private Pilates lessons. I was doing well, so I added in bike riding and weights at the gym. I feel so much stronger. I have less pain than when I started,” said Emily.
Besides working the local stabilizing muscles, Pilates works on balance. Karyn Staples said, “Balance is twofold—so that you don’t fall over, and balance in the body to decrease asymmetries. When one side is stronger than the other, your body will tend to use the stronger side.”
“Pain is an indication that we’ve chosen a poor movement strategy”
You might hear “No Pain No Gain” at some gyms. “Pain is an indication that we’ve chosen a poor movement strategy” said Staples. Pilates is never supposed to hurt.
It’s hard to love any exercise that hurts. And Staples recommends finding movement that you can enjoy. “It should be fun. That way it’s not a task that you are dreading. There’s a lot of research on emotions. Negative emotions attached to something mean that we will have a negative experience.”
Staples told the story of one patient, a woman training for a marathon. She had pain in her knee while running, and it got worse to the point where she couldn’t walk. She started in Physical Therapy at for Illiotibial Band Syndrome. The Pilates-based therapy was so effective, that after she finished, she continued with Pilates once a week. She’s had a marked improvement in her running, pain-free for months. She calls Pilates her “favorite hour of the week.”
“In 10 sessions, you feel better, 20 sessions you look better, 30 sessions you have a completely new body.” – Joseph Pilates