Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Whole Body Fitness

Early Morning Hiking

Lately, my chronically tight hips have been really bothering me. That and my little knee issue. I damaged my knee on a bad mountain bike spill ten years ago. I somehow manage to keep it from flaring up by avoiding. I avoid anything with impact. This means I can't run and that hiking has to be done carefully and in small doses.

At the same time, I am really seeing that I can't keep avoiding sports that I love. I need to really find a way to continue doing these things. That has led my thinking to a lot about whole body fitness.

One winter I worked with a personal trainer every month. And she was damn good. She had me doing lots of functional strength training and doing movements I typically wouldn't dare do for fear of knee injury flare up. But doing carefully controlled movements like these helped strengthen my knee and hip- and that wasn't even the point of all the training.

The point is, I felt better than I had ever felt. My hips didn't bother me, my knee didn't bother me, and I was able to run. I ran all winter without any problems.

Now I live in a different area so I can't use the same personal trainer, but these injury flare ups are really inspiring me to start a functional strength training routine. I recently read this article in Men's Journal, which discusses how athletes over train some muscle groups while ignoring others. Being primarily a cyclist I am completely guilty of this. All I do is ride. Maybe a walk here and there, but mainly just ride. And my core? Forget about it. It doesn't exist.

So finding great strength training routines is a new goal for me. Currently, I am trying a routine from Women's Running that focuses on building knee strength to prevent injury. Basically it strengthens all the major muscle groups. Women's Health and Fitness magazine has many routines available online so I will share those with you when I move onto a new one in about three weeks.

Here's to a stronger body.


kate said...

you're so right, good core strength is the key to injury free fun. if only i could practice what i preach :(

Red Bike said...

I still associate the word fitness with the word pain. So whole body fitness sounded like something I really wanted to avoid.

bettymountaingirl said...

Kate- soooooo agreed. I cannot get myself to commit to actually strengthening up. The best winter that I had, the one I was describing was about 2 or 3 years ago. Since then I haven't done strength training for more than 10 times in total. Yikes!

Red Bike- it is painful! But my stinkin hips and knee are really painful right now too, so I'm hoping one of the pains will let up soon.