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Exercise- Weight bear, or not to weight bear?

Exercise- Weight bear, or not to weight bear?



As human beings we are designed for motion. This benefits us in many ways not only to improve the blood flow to our muscles and joints to maintain health but also for our organ systems to function they require motion to encourage oxygenated blood and nutrients to them for optimum function. True, the heart is the primary pump to allow for this but inorder to optimize the pumps very function movement is its key stimulus. So when possible, stand up and get moving is the simple solution to good health, however depending on ones ability and with so many options as to how to exercise, which is the best way to go?



Weight bearing exercise is important to stimulate joint proprioception (or awareness and stability in space), bone growth and repair however those suffering with weight bearing overuse injuries or other conditions must seek other options to still gain the benefits of exercise….



Walking is one of the most fundamental movement patterns we are designed for and the lowest impacting of the gears when considering jogging and sprinting as the higher. Therefore those suffering with arthritic knees and hips are less advised to run but to maintain mobility through regular walking. It is true for those suffering with low back pain that keeping oneself comfortably mobile is far better than compressing and stiffening the joints through a sedentary activity, so at the very least minimal amounts of walking can help to alleviate certain symptoms of low back pain.


Swimming has benefits to suit a range of people, from those suffering with chronic arthritis to the hypermobile gymnast. The water provides both resistance and support for the body so therefore working on muscle strength and joint mobility. Like any sport or activity it is imperative that the technique used is efficient for both injury prevention and getting the most out of your relaxing post work evening swim or your early morning one-mile blast!

It is useful to note that when exercising in a pool, swimming is not the only option. Walking or aqua aerobics are alternatives to getting the most out of your time in the water.


Cycling is an excellent way to improve endurance and strength particularly in the lower half of the body. And when attacking more extreme pursuits like downhill-mountain biking or the rigors of the long distance road event, core strength is of paramount importance. But even when going for a relaxing ride to the park it is still vital to consider ones body position on the bike so to apply the correct injury prevention forces through the hips knees and ankles and to protect the spine so not to over flex if not conditioned to do so. The racing position as seen on a keen road cyclist or for the avid spin class attendee is good for the spine but it is necessary to maintain good flexibility through this range via other activity so to prevent stiffening and possible overstrain.


Yoga and indeed Pilates are exercise systems that amongst other things help to balance the body, improve postural tone and flexibility. They are therefore perfect compliments to all forms of exercise and sport. There are varying forms of both and like any class will be modified by the skill and knowledge of the instructor. They also focus on:


  • Improving our ability to breathe more efficiently (therefore gaining more oxygen into our system).
  • Optimize our digestive system (improved fuelling of our system) through better posture.
  • Focus the mind on the body rather than what’s on TV tonight or when will Tottenham ever win the league!


All of the above are vital to calming our system and regaining both our physical and mental centre.



There are of course many other ways to train and move, to the more vigorous strength and endurance benefits gained from rowing, elliptical trainer or where possible cross country skiing to the grounding calming perks of Thai Chi and Alexander technique.


As humans we do have a tendency to overcomplicate and reach for the most hi-Tec or diverse but often the simplest approach is just as beneficial. Take playing around on the floor mimicking our children in play.

These “primal moves”

are the essence of our developmental patterns and are at our disposal whenever we want them, provided we keep practicing them!


In general when exercising, a few points should remain: Keep the variety-Mixing it up keeps it fun and stimulates both the brain and body. And also prevents overuse injury.


Due to different conditions some more severe than others, it is all relative as to how much one can do but above all wherever possible, KEEP MOVING!





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