“Most injuries happen when people are compensating in some way for how their body moves,” said Jill Zimmerman, DPT, a personal trainer with more than 15 years of experience. Whether it be picking up a child or swinging a golf club, the body often compensates to achieve required movements. Pain associated with movement indicates a movement pattern that may be off balance. “When one part of the body doesn’t move well,” Dr. Zimmerman said, “another must pick up the slack.
This is how tissues can wear down and become overused with time.”
Dr. Zimmerman is the owner of Perfectly Fit in Mount Pleasant, where clients turn when their bodies start to move in ways they haven’t moved before. Typically active people who are afraid their bodies may not support their active lifestyle as long as they’d hoped will engage with Dr. Zimmerman and her team, who help them gain strength, alleviate pain and prevent significant injuries that could derail their fitness and wellness goals.
“They want to move better, feel stronger and do it in the safest way possible – under the supervision and understanding of a physical therapist who understands how injuries happen and how to resolve them,” said Dr. Zimmerman.
Starting with posture and the way the rib cage and pelvis line up, Dr. Zimmerman believes the secret to strong joints is to create balance of strength on all sides of the joint. To create the desired balance and realignment, Perfectly Fit looks at the body as a whole. Breaking down the way clients move and breathe, their posture and how they hold themselves up – the Perfectly Fit team narrows down the root cause of pain or limits on movement. In addition, Dr. Zimmerman and her team give clients the guidance they need to properly execute exercises. She is quick to remind her clients that it isn’t the exercise itself, rather the way the exercise is executed, that makes the biggest difference.
Simone Mack-Orr, general manager of Cyclebar Spartanburg, is also a strong believer in the importance of posture and alignment and its effect on joint pain. As a certified personal trainer with more than 15 program certifications, Mack-Orr believes that in-studio cycling is a great low-impact way to strengthen muscles and ligaments without the jumping, varying terrains and surprises of outdoor biking.
Encouraging riders to work at their best level, Mack-Orr described Cyclebar as a great match for those who enjoy a high-energy environment with dynamic music and lighting but want to keep impact on their joints low. The movements involved in cycling limit impact on weight-bearing joints such as knees and hips while lubricating them, which reduces pain and stiffness. Cyclebar provides footwear that is specifically designed to be compatible with stationary bikes. Because the shoes are tailored to the bike and clip in to secure the feet to the bike, riders have a more stable and controlled experience.
When asked if cycling is for everyone, Mack-Orr asserted that it is a great choice for people of any age and fitness level. Cyclebar Spartanburg welcomes riders from 18 to 75 years old, including students, athletes and retirees. She cautioned those recovering from knee surgery to discuss cycling with their medical provider and recommended recumbent bikes until riders are ready for an upright stationary bike like the ones used in the studio. Cyclebar offers various classes or, as they refer to them, rides. Regardless of what the rider chooses, however, all rides can be modified to the rider’s fitness level.
Physical therapy and fitness make a great team in joint pain reduction and injury prevention. Having experienced professionals to provide guidance and ensure proper form adds an important layer of protection and control, allowing clients to develop muscles and skills that improve the way they move in their daily lives. Expert therapists and instructors ensure that the body’s needs are met while allowing participants access to much-desired activity. The body will inevitably change, and pain may come with the territory, but joint pain and stiffness are no reason to sit out fitness altogether. In fact, they may simply be a call to tend to the body’s needs through a more functional approach.
By Isabel Alvarez Arata