We know, the term “corrective exercises” doesn’t sound very exciting, but these movements are a game changer. They are often simple and not even hard or challenging, but they get to the core of underlying movement issues. They are small but powerful and, if done consistently over time, help keep you healthy, strong, and less prone to injury.
Last year, Body Balance co-owners John Perez and Kristi Reed became certified to integrate corrective exercise into their health and wellness practices. They are really excited to share what they learned with you, the Body Balance community.
Let’s get into it.
What is Corrective Exercise?
These are exercises that help change unhealthy movement habits to healthier movement habits. Or they may be used to return you back to healthy movement after something like an injury. If you’ve ever seen a physical therapist, you’ve experienced corrective exercises.
To pull in another way to explain the term, the International Sports Science Association says that corrective exercise is “any type of exercise that helps correct some faulty movement or positioning in the body that contributes to or causes pain, injury, or other dysfunction.”
We all have default ways we move and hold our bodies. Maybe you lean on one hip when you stand. Do you carry a bag? It’s likely you sling it over one shoulder more often than the other. Continually using one side of the body more than the other can contribute to imbalances. Many of us sit for long periods of time. This can cause all sorts of movement issues and pain—in the neck, shoulders, back, hips. Working out can cause tight muscles (and sitting still can, too!). This can limit movement and over time, that can become chronic and painful.
If we’re not actively maintaining full range of motion, balanced postures and stances, and healthy movement throughout the day, we’ll likely get to the point where something’s out of balance or our movement is impeded.
Corrective exercises get us back to health. They get to the core of the movement problem and return you to balance and mobility.
These exercises can take many forms and they may progress over time. Some unhealthy movement patterns have been developing over years, so it may take time and a structured movement program to work back to the root of the issue.
Trainers may have clients use a foam roller or a firm ball to perform myofascial release. They may employ range-of-motion or isometric “holding” exercises. There might be stretching or postural alignment, breathing routines or targeted strengthening. It all depends on what the issue is and how it’s manifesting in your body.
This short video from the National Academy of Sports Medicine explains a progression trainers may follow to help you return to healthy movement:
Why Is This Important to Me?
Everyone can benefit from corrective exercise because the reality is, no one moves perfectly all of the time. We all have habits that will throw us out of balance. As we age, those movement patterns get more and more ingrained, and imbalances become more pronounced. And, moving through the world takes its toll, even if you’re moving well most of the time.
These targeted, personalized routines can also help you recover faster from injury and prevent future injuries. Many of us live with minor aches and pains, and this can often be alleviated by healthier movement and the release of tight muscles. Regularly taking the time to check in, readjust, and address the small stuff, the tight stuff, and the stiff stuff will reap huge benefits now and over the long haul.
Another amazing side benefit of corrective exercise is that it teaches us what healthy movement feels like. We can tap into that when we’re out in the world and hopefully continue to enforce good movement habits. It’s a positive feedback loop. By learning how to move in healthier ways, you’re far less prone to injury and you’re certain to be more agile, for when life throws you unexpected obstacles. You’ll also feel better when you move because you’ll know how to move your body the way it moves best.
In the realm of fitness and performance goals, corrective exercise helps here, too. Because if you’re moving in the most efficient ways, you’re not wasting effort. Less wasted effort means that your full ability will go into your performance.
The Benefits of Working with a Personal Trainer
A clear indication that you may benefit from working with a personal trainer is this: Do you currently have a personalized corrective exercise program? No? Well, there ya have it.
A personal trainer, especially one who is trained specifically in corrective exercise, can work with you to create a program designed specifically to correct the issues that you’re facing. They’re trained to spot poor movement patterns and to understand how to fix them. They know the steps that can get you back to wellness.
They also do the detail work of keeping track of progress as well as what exercises to do when and how many. And they’ll hold you accountable for staying consistent. Said another way, they’ll help get you back to health faster and easier than most of us could, or would, on our own.
Benefits Healthier Movement Is Achievable
You’ll experience great benefits if you dedicate part of your fitness regimen to correcting imbalances and loosing up tight muscles and joints. Working with a professional will help ensure that you are following the protocols that will work best for you.
Corrective exercises done regularly following a structured plan deliver truly exciting results!