I had a discussion with a client recently explaining why he had to stop doing a certain activity because he has a potentially harmful issue going on in his lower body that needs to be addressed.
The activity that he was doing had a history of aggravating this condition several times and was directly stressing it every time he participated in it now. It was just a matter of time before it flared up again.
The clients response was that he enjoyed doing it to which I asked him is the risk of seriously damaging your body and putting a halt to your training worth the reward that you will get from keeping it up? The client was participating at a very low level with no aspirations of advancing to a higher level but their was still a very high risk of serious damage and it had happened about 4 times already. Is the risk of it happening again worth the reward when there really isn’t that much of a reward to be got in his situation:
- No high level achievement
- No major competition wins
- No medals
- No cash prize
I know enjoyment is one of the highest rewards you can get from any activity but not when it comes at the expense of your health and wellbeing. That’s a potentially harmful way to think.
He could still train and progress toward his goal in a much safer and more effective way that wouldn’t aggravate or feed into this issue and get the same enjoyment out of it. When his issue is resolved he could then return to his activity much more prepared and in a better physical condition to deal with the stresses it places on his body.
It’s not that he has to give it up forever, just until his body is better prepared to participate in it without the risk of injury
Certain goals aren’t suitable for some people due to a number of reasons:
- Their lifestyle doesn’t support the effort that is required- rubbish nutrition, terrible sleep patterns, etc.
- Previous injury- a huge risk factor for getting another injury
- Joint limitations- certain activities require that your joints are capable of moving through certain ranges of motion in order for them to be done safely
- Their training age and ability- lots of people jumping into high level activities even though they don’t have the technical and physical abilities to do them safely
One of the biggest issues with people and training is that there is often a huge difference between what they mentally think they can do and what they are actually physically capable of doing in a safe manner. They think they are a lot more advanced and prepared than they actually are and this misplaced notion makes them ignore the obvious risks to their long-term health and fitness.
These type of clients will often argue with their coach even though their coach is looking at their situation from an objective point of view and has their best interests in mind.
When you take part in any activity, it should never pose any risk to your health especially for those who are competing at such low levels within their sport. Competing at higher competitive levels often increases the risk of injury and health related issues but the end results are often seen as much more rewarding such as Olympic medals, huge cash prizes and achieving the number one title in your country or the world for your sport.
Most people will never see such rewards yet their actions bring serious risks. These include:
- Obese and overweight people out pounding the roads to get healthier- this places huge stresses on the joints
- Smokers trying to push their body’s past their limits and nearly coughing their lungs up
- Amateur long-distance endurance athletes (marathon runners, cyclists, tri-athletes, etc.) who lack the most basic strength and movement fundamentals yet put their body’s under insane stress
- Very unhealthy and de-conditioned people jumping straight into a huge volume of exercise with a very unsustainable “I MEAN IT THIS TIME’ attitude- think new years resolution and those who tear into the gym after the summer/September
- People not listening to the advice of their coach and doing exactly what the coach advised them to do- running when advised not to run, training 6 days a week when advised to do 4 days, etc.
No matter what is going on with your body, you can always train and progress toward whatever goal you have set. You just need to do it in a way that will minimise the risk of injury and allow you to get the most out of your program in the most enjoyable way possible.
Stay healthy guys.