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The Exercise Box Is Too Small!

How do you feel about exercise?

Is it a necessary evil?

A consuming passion?

Something you have to do so that you can eat what you want?

What box do you put exercise in?

Or do you feel like Mark Twain;
“Whenever I get the urge to exercise, I lie down until the feeling passes away.”

Or like this unknown author;
“I wish I loved exercise as much as I love drinking wine and eating everything.”

While exercise is gaining recognition for its role in supporting disease management and prevention, unfortunately, exercise is still primarily associated with weight-loss, bodybuilding, and sports performance. This is an unfortunately small box for exercise to occupy.

There is so much more exercise can do for improving our lives that have nothing to do with weight-loss and sports.

So, we need a bigger box.

Here are some more things to put in the exercise box:

  • Improving mood and anxiety
  • Improving hormonal balance
  • Maintaining a high quality of life
  • Improving sleep
  • Improving self-esteem
  • Reducing, and possibly even removing, unwanted musculoskeletal sensations (like pain and discomfort)

Wait a minute… what?

I thought exercise caused pain?

If done improperly it can cause pain. (In fact, that’s the dirty little secret of the exercise world – that this exercise thing people are doing to get and stay healthy is actually causing ill health and disease (orthopedic disease to be specific).

However, properly targeted, applied, and dosed exercise can help contribute to the attenuation of musculoskeletal pain and discomfort.

It’s an untapped aspect of exercise and with the overdosing of Americans on opioids and unnecessary surgeries the time has come for folks to became familiar with exercise’s role in pain and discomfort.

How can exercise have such a profound role on how people feel? How can exercise be an answer for people that couldn’t find solutions from the more common interventions like pain medication, injections, physical therapy, stretching, or massage?

How can the thing that so many people don’t like, and perhaps the thing that so many can’t do BECAUSE of their pain, be the answer?

The answer lies in the relationship it has with the control of movement and the human nervous system.

Check this out.

To exercise is to control bodily motion and position. To physically stimulate your body in order to make some change in it. While most people think they can’t move because they are in pain, we flip the script. As a Certified Muscle System Specialist, I propose that you may be hurting because you don’t move well. That begs the question, “what is responsible for us controlling our bodies?” The only thing that can move you is your muscles. So, it’s the muscles I am concerned with. More specifically, the muscle system in its entirety. The higher the quality of your muscle system, the better you move, the better you feel. The way to improve the muscle system’s quality is via exercise – putting forces on the body. Exercise’s usefulness in contributing to the removal of pain lies in the details. The amount and duration of force, the positions the person is in while receiving the force, the direction and speed they are moving, all contribute to the precise dose of interaction (exercise) the person receives. When the position, motion, and dose is right, the body responds by restoring muscle system quality. This means that the stuff that moves you – muscle – works better, so you move better and ultimately feel better.

Written by Greg Mack, Charlie Rowe and Jay Weitzner of Physicians Fitness. Reprinted with permission.


Greg Mack is a gold-certified ACE Medical Exercise Specialist and an ACE Certified Personal Trainer. He is the founder and CEO of the corporation Fitness Opportunities. Inc. dba as Physicians Fitness and Exercise Professional Education. He is also a founding partner in the Muscle System Consortia. Greg has operated out of chiropractic clinics, outpatient physical therapy clinics, a community hospital, large gyms, and health clubs, as well operating private studios. His experience in working in such diverse venues enhanced his awareness of the wide gulf that exists between the medical community and fitness facilities, particularly for those individuals trying to recover from, and manage, a diagnosed disease. 

Charlie Rowe joined Physicians Fitness in the fall of 2007 after spending 9 years as the Senior Personal Trainer at Oak Hill Country Club in Rochester, New York. He has also worked within an outpatient Physical Therapy Clinic coordinating care with the Physical Therapist since joining Physicians Fitness. Charlie has earned the Cooper Clinic’s Certified Personal Trainer, the NSCA’s Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist, the American College of Sports Medicine Certified Health Fitness Specialist, Resistance Training Specialist Master Level, and American Council on Exercise Certified Orthopedic Exercise Specialist Certifications. 

Jay Weitzner, MS is a Certified Medical Exercise Specialist through the American Academy on Exercise (ACE); he holds a Bachelor’s and a Master’s in Exercise Science/Human Performance with an emphasis on exercise physiology. Jay specializes in working with clients with musculoskeletal issues — his clients have problems or concerns about their quality of movement and their physical health.

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