Summer will be kicking off in the northern hemisphere soon. Many of you are probably planning more outdoor activities and looking forward to enjoying the warm weather so you can engage in one of the most popular summer pastimes — barbecuing! What does barbequing have to do with corrective exercise, you ask? Well, these two topics have more in common than you may realize. Ask any BBQ chef in the southern United States what the secret to outstanding barbeque is and they will tell you: take it “low and slow”. That means that you cook or smoke the meat slowly and over a low heat in order to let the meat tenderize and ensure all the flavors sink in. This same principle of taking it “low and slow” directly applies to the application of corrective exercise techniques. Corrective exercise strategies must be introduced gradually and at a low intensity so that your client’s musculoskeletal and neuromuscular systems can adapt and acclimatize to the new demands being placed on them.
This “low and slow” principle is extremely important with respect to corrective exercise because people who have been experiencing chronic aches and pains have a heightened response to the sensation of pain. Their brains and nervous systems have been re-wired and finely tuned to ring alarm bells of pain and inflammation in an effort to protect the body from anything they perceive as harmful or a threat. Consequently, these clients need ample time for their bodies to acclimatize to corrective exercise techniques. If your corrective exercise strategies are too progressive or introduced too quickly, the alarm responses can get triggered setting the client back even further and slowing their recovery. So, when working with corrective exercise clients this summer, think of barbecue and remember the “low and slow” motto as you design your pain-relief programs. This will ensure you help clients learn how to move again without pain so they can get out there and relish all the fun activities summer has to offer!