Sunday, January 4, 2009

Try a Personal Trainer First

All too often, I have clients tell me they need to lose weight or tone up their bodies. These are very worthwhile goals, but the truth of the matter is that a personal trainer can aid in many other ways you may not have realized — like in reducing your need for a chiropractor.

There are many cases where proper training of muscular imbalances of the legs and hips can relieve back pain — and keep you out of the doctor's office.

The doctor realigns your spine to release the pressure that is making you uncomfortable.

If back pain is not injury-induced, chances are good that it could be caused by a muscle imbalance.

Sometimes, a muscle imbalance is caused by your posture — or, more precisely, the way you carry yourself through the course of your day. In most cases, a good personal trainer can pick up on these imbalances and correct them, thus correcting your posture and taking away the discomfort.

While some imbalances may be organic, others could be due to our own actions.

We can train ourselves into imbalances. My favorite example of this is illustrated by the hunchback weightlifters. You've seen them: the guys in the gym with the biggest arms and chests — and rounded shoulders. This is the result of heavily training the chest (shoulders and trapezius) without training the rear deltiod. Eventually, gravity can cause enough imbalance to create back pain.

Rounded shoulders also can be due to repeatedly hunching forward (such as at the desk or steering wheel), making shoulders lean slightly forward of the torso. Gravity then pulls the shoulders toward the ground instead of centered over our torso and hips. This makes walking difficult because balance is off-centered.

Remember: in addition to getting you and keeping you fit, trainers also can teach you how to be symmetric and balanced in training. Being fit is more than being able to lift weights or having good cardio -- it's also having good, pain- free range of motion in all joints.

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