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Slow and steady wins the race

“The Biggest Loser” – a TV show that reinforces the myth that exercising to near breaking point will help you. There’s a lot to learn from observing the participants flogging themselves to near breaking point. I commend them for trying to improve their wellbeing; it takes courage and perseverance to undertake such a change. They feel better from exercising and challenging themselves, they lose weight quickly and they gain self-belief.

But the show is a perfect example of why so many people fall short of their expectations when exercising. This model of exercise is unsustainable in the longer term and significantly increases the risk of injury, poor compliance, and poor results!

For most of us (elite athletes may be an exception, although they are not exempt) exercising at maximal or near maximal intensities in a boot camp style environment is an excellent way to injure yourself and will ultimately prevent you from achieving your wellbeing goals.

An exercise routine requires a few essential ingredients: it should be tailored to individual needs, coordinated and delivered by a team of health professionals (collaboration your Physiotherapist and / or GP), be evidenced based, target specific outcomes (weight loss, rehabilitation, mental wellbeing, chronic disease, increased muscle tissue), be person centred, be clearly understood by its participants, and be designed to gradually overload the body. It is this ingredient, gradual overload, which is often neglected.

Gradual overload is the consistent and steady increase in exercise load and volume over a mid to long term period that can be as little as 2 weeks and as much as 10 years. There are many examples of people “getting it wrong” when overloading. It is one of the most difficult ingredients of any exercise routine to get right, as it requires an understanding of our unique individual physiology. If we maintain a consistent routine at moderately graduated loads, then we increase our chances of success significantly!

Where do we start? Who do we ask for advice? How do we determine an appropriate training load? What exercises are the best to do? How will our exercise routine deliver results safely and effectively?

Engaging the services of a health professional who specialises in Exercise Prescription is the best way to ensure your progress will be gradual, consistent, safe and ultimately effective. Moving correctly, learning good technique, activating the key muscles that promote stability and control, before gradually increasing loads to build endurance and strength is the safest and most effective approach. Learning good movement patterns and unlearning faulty movements enable you to gradually overload the body safely and effectively.

Have a chat to one of our team so that we can enable you to discover that when it comes to exercise routines, “slow and steady wins the race”!