You probably wouldn't go out to buy a rug, unless you measured the room to make sure it fits in the space.
Likewise when adjusted your diet to change your body composition, you likely weighed or measured yourself at the beginning of the process, to track your progress.
Exercise is the same. You need to clarify a starting point, then check or assess whether it has the desired effect, or fits with what you are trying to accomplish.
When you exercise, do you wonder if it is helping or hindering how your body feels and moves? If you have not, you should.
Exercise, when executed optimally, should support the alignment of your joints, thus, their health while improving your mobility, joint stability, and balance.
Self-assessing - and not guessing - will help you determine if your exercises and how you execute them are helping or hindering you.
What, when, and how to self-assess.
You should self-assess before you begin your workout and we recommend after each set of exercises.
Assessing provides you a starting point of how your body feels and moves before you begin the workout. Assessing after each set helps you quickly determine which exercise may be causing you issues. If it is helping, your flexibility should be the same or improve. If the exercise is hindering, you will feel less flexibility or increased discomfort.
What do you use to assess and how do you use it?
Start by looking straight ahead, either standing or sitting.
Turn just your head to look over your right shoulder, come back to centre and turn to look over your left shoulder, and come back to centre. Repeat a total of three times, always sure to stop at the centre.
Pay attention to asymmetries side to side and the quality of the motion as you move. Does it go easily? Do you feel or sticky? Did you hear a 'crunching' sound?
Standing with your feet relatively together and arms at your sides.
Bring both arms straight up in front of you and then up next to your head.
Which arm feels harder to lift or feels 'not so great' when you lift it.
Standing with your feet relatively together, place your hands on your hips, feet flat on the floor, turn your whole body as far as it can go to the right, turn back to centre and turn to the left. Repeat three times.
Which side is more challenging to turn to or feels like you cannot turn as far?
If you assess and find the set of exercises has decreased your flexibility in an area or the quality of motion, take three gentle three-dimensional breaths to 'reset' your system. Re-assess. You likely will feel the movement restored. If so, try the sets again, paying close attention to your alignment, breathing, and form. If all is good, when you assess again after the set, then move on to the next set or exercise. However, if you have decreased flexibility or quality of motion, you may need to modify the exercise or discontinue it.
Exercise, when performed well, can be fantastic for the health of your joints and flexibility. However, when executed sub-optimally can contribute to joint wear and tear and decreased flexibility.
If you would like to learn more about self-assessing and how to determine if the exercises you utilize are helping or hindering you, reach out and let's work together to find the best program for you.