What’s the Best Exercise for Me at Home
Firstly, I’d like to wish all the mothers reading my newsletter a very Happy Mother’s Day! I wouldn’t be where I am today if it were not for the love and support my mother, Jo Ann, continues to provide to me. And now I have the joy of watching my wife, Lori, be an amazing mother to our son, Jackson.
As I was looking for ideas to write in this month’s newsletter, I thought about the many mothers I have worked with in my career. I’ve also been thinking a lot about how the country is healing from the pandemic, and life returning to a “new normal”. In the healthcare and fitness industry, this involves the return to gyms, yoga, Pilates, and running groups. After injury, surgery or sickness, I’m commonly asked: “What’s the best exercise for me?” And as we slowly wake up from the pandemic and look to improve our physical and mental health, once again I am being asked:
“What’s the best exercise for me?”
Today, I’d like to answer that question for you.
At a conference I attended a few years ago, attendees shared their stories of attempting to exercise before and after surgery- success and failures alike. Most tried some sort of exercise such as group exercise classes, weights, Spinning, yoga and running but eventually stopped due to pain. Today I want to speak to you about the process of choosing the right exercise program for yourself so that you can set yourself up for success.
As a physical therapist, I am used to people asking “What’s the best exercise for me?” My clients are men and women, fit and sedentary, young and old, with an assortment of injuries and varied degrees of pain severity. As a matter of fact, my clients have usually asked their friend, family member, doctor or other healthcare provider this question long before meeting me. And with the best intentions, an answer of “You should walk on the treadmill, join a gym to lift weights, take a swimming class, or start running.” The problem with these responses is that it doesn’t truly connect with you or the situation you are in. Early in my career I couldn’t wait to rattle off lists of exercises and routines that I felt would improve my client’s pain and injuries, but then I noticed a strong common theme:
“I hate to run.”
“I’ve never done yoga before.”
“I don’t know how to lift weights.”
“I don’t have access to a gym or pool.”
“I don’t feel comfortable going to a gym.”
“My work (or family) schedule is too hectic to commit to an exercise program.”
So, to answer your question, let me ask you one: what is your goal?
Every person has a different goal. Common goals clients first talk about are: “I want to be stronger. I want to be more fit. I want to get rid of my pain. I want to lose weight. I want to return to my favorite exercise routine. I want to feel like me again!” This is a wonderful start and I encourage clients to be more specific. What do you want to be stronger, fitter, healthier, in less pain to do? “I want to have less pain so I can go back to work. I want to be stronger to walk up my driveway and stairs again. I want to have more energy so I can cook for my family.” The more specific you can be at naming your goals, the better you can plan your exercise program.
Now you must identify, “What exercise or physical activities do you like to do?” This is so important! Again, as an expert on exercise, I can rattle off lists of exercises that would make your head spin. Healthcare providers, friends and family will tell you what they think you should be doing. But if you have no interest whatsoever in the exercise or activity that was suggested to you, then I can guarantee that you will not do it and start working towards your very important goals. Then what’s the point?
I recommend to think about activities that you truly enjoy and have fun with. Again, this is different for everyone, that is why it is so important for you to identify what YOU like to do. If you are a fan of socializing and being around others, then check out a gym’s group exercise or yoga class schedule. Yearning for some quiet time, then try a meditation podcast to practice your deep breathing. Enjoy some fresh air then get outdoors for a walk, hike or bicycle ride. If it’s just been way too long due to pain and injury since you were able to participate in your fun activities, try to partner with a physical therapist who can show you how to get rolling safely.
Patients often have to wait weeks or months to gain access to providers—long enough for conditions to move from acute to chronic. I bring physical therapy to you, to meet your wellness goals with the convenience of a mobile service that comes to your home or office. My goal in delivering you personalized one-on-one care is for you to have a pain-free and healthy lifestyle. I provide a mobile physical therapy experience to Northern New Jersey and New York City that empowers, educates, and restores balanced healthy movement without the drive to appointments, having to re-schedule your day, or cope with crowds and traffic. – Jim Palmer, Physical Therapist
What clients are saying…..
I started PT with Jim over FaceTime in the height of COVID. I have done a lot of PT, but this is the first PT that feels function oriented and strength building. Jim is encouraging and affable. He is always ready to cheer on my small wins! I highly recommend seeing Jim in-person or online!Catherine Galateria
Working with Dr. Palmer has been a pleasure. He took time up front to understand my injury, assess where I was stronger and where I was weaker and to talk through what I wanted to achieve. I can’t speak highly enough of Jim. He’s both technically excellent as well as just a genuinely nice person.Alex Lorton
…. After listening intently to my symptoms and doing some manual tests, Jim realized I had a different injury than the doctor had prescribed. He recommended fresh strengthening exercises which, combined with his stretching, improved my condition quickly. Jim also set me up for lasting relief by teaching me how to address the pain if/when it arises again.Marc Adelberg