Inactivity certainly has its negative side effects on the way that we look and feel. The consequences of inactivity on your health are limitless and body composition often becomes the visual poster child of poor health. While becoming active again is the best remedy to these problems, it does need to be proceeded with caution for a number of reasons. What often gets passed over in my opinion is that people just plain forget how to move. Depending on the severity and duration of your inactivity I have learned that this takes some serious reprogramming of the brain, the body, and the central nervous system. Unfortunately restoring movement is not normally a part of the activity agenda. Where problems can occur is that the wear and tear of everyday life can lead to postural issues, repetitive stress on our joints, muscles, and connective tissue, and of course imbalances. We have the ability to correct the dysfunctions associated with inactivity. However it is often overlooked by running on the treadmill, loading the barbell, stacking a machine and getting crushed in a boot camp or group fitness class. I can't say that these are the wrong answer because it will bring a drastic improvement in the way that you look and feel and I am a big believer in that. However, to what expense of the way that you move and the way you think about doing it? The side effect of this can vary. For someone de-conditioned it may mean injury. For anyone just getting off the ground running this can be beyond discouraging. For the more advanced, it may mean some small aches and pains and limitations in your gains. I know that can be a BIG frustration for some.
Assess and Correct
These two words can save you a heap of trouble regardless of your fitness level. If fixing movement is a priority, I highly suggest having a trained set of eyes to take a look at the way you are moving. There are numerous movement assessments that will tell your story just by the way you move. The ability to identify what is not functioning and what is over functioning lays the platform for what to do next. This is where correction comes in. Corrective exercise is meant to restore movement by adding mobility, stability, and flexibility but it's biggest asset is its ability to re wire your movement habits.
To make this process more generalized, one of the biggest indicators of movement dysfunction is posture. Not only what is tight and weak, but how capable someone is able to coordinate their movement. If someone is completely upright chances are there is a healthy relationship between the brain and body. For someone naturally hunched over, that relationship is not quite as welcoming.
Soft Tissue Work
I am a huge fan of soft tissue work whether it be hands on or foam rolling. To put it simply it relieves tight muscles but the benefits go well beyond just that. We now know that fascia is the dark horse of nervous system communication. When it comes to restoring function, soft tissue work is no longer a luxury, it is now a necessity.
Put Thought Into Action
Inactivity has changed the way I prescribe exercise. It has also changed the way that I coach it. I now know that for someone to lift it has to go well beyond what looks pretty. The ability to think and feel what needs to be used in exercise has taken the reigns over what exercises, how many reps, and how many sets. Form is one thing but it is nothing without function and knowing how function should feel.
There is nothing wrong with high output in exercise but it is certainly something that needs to be earned and not just implemented. The ability to restore healthy movement will keep you moving purely, progressively, and pain free.