Today I was engaged in a conversation with a workout buddy and our trainer. My friend was sharing his experience with a shoulder injury. His doctor had recommended surgery (often the case with shoulder, knee, and back problems), but our trainer had recommended rehabilitation through physical therapy-type mobility and strengthening. Over time my friend’s shoulder injury healed without surgery. Some lack of mobility and pain returns from time to time, but this happens when he is not exercising for an extended period of time.
We then pondered the nature of injury and illness and the need for movement and use of the body. Of course, when one is critically ill, one needs to listen to the body, seek medical advice, and rest as appropriate. But long-term inactivity can have a real negative impact on the body. Consider people who lead almost completely sedentary lives. As they get older, they can become more and more “stuck” in their bodies, unable to move freely. They can gain unnecessary weight and develop depression*. Consider chronic hospital patients who develop bed sores due to inactivity. Movement strengthens our muscles, lubricates our joints, and brings nutrients to our cells, among many other benefits. So, consider movement as an important key to great long-term health!
*In 2002 the World Health Organization stated that a sedentary lifestyle increases the risk of depression and anxiety. Read the article here.
Note: It is important to consult a medical professional when making decisions about how to treat an injury or illness and before making any major changes in your physical workout regimen.