As exercise professionals we often answer to questions that begin with the phrase “what’s the best exercise for”. The end of the sentence varies slightly, but the concept is ultimately the same – what’s the best quick fix for my problem.
While many health experts choose to focus on these “miracle exercises” that target specific problems, it’s important to recognise that there are other factors that need consideration.
Let’s assume you walk around in clockwise circles for hours on end each day. As a result of this activity you develop an imbalance in your muscles. The muscles that have more load placed on them are stressed to the point that they increase in strength. This imbalance can lead to problems that often result in pain.
What’s the solution?
While it seems quite obvious that direction changes or perhaps not walking in circles would help, often the approach that is taken is to strengthen those muscles that are weak to achieve balance. However this is a bit like continuing to get repeated fillings from the dentist so that you can eat all the candy that you want!
It is important that you understand that I am not trying to play down the importance of exercise by any means. I am simply trying to draw attention to the fact that solutions to problems rarely involve just one specific intervention and this is certainly the case with exercise.
“The part can never be well unless the whole is well.” ~Plato
Exercise should be used as a tool in conjunction with other modifications to control inappropriate loads and teach your body how to correctly accept load. Exercise has the best potential when combined with lifestyle changes such as nutritional and postural habits.