During my journey as a massage therapist, I longed to find ways to help those of my clients who were in pain. As part of that quest to help my clients, I learned more about body structure, how as certain parts of our bodies become weak from over use or from lack of use, other parts of the body will pick up the slack. This often results in our bodies becoming out of balance, which then will cause pain or inflammation, or both.
While I believe in cardio vascular exercise, I don’t believe its the only way to make our bodies stronger. Tai Chi, Pilates, and Yoga all have benefits for our bodies and none of them require heavy breathing. I am also a firm believer in keeping bodies strong, and the very best way to do that is with strength training.
I found this post on a site called Pain Science and found they agree with me, see what you think:
“A replacement for joint-bashing “cardio”
Contrary to the conventional wisdom, strength training is just as good for general fitness and weight loss as aerobic exercise.>Most people believe — ever since the “aerobics” fad in the 80s — that you have to train the heart to get in shape, and you can only train the heart with cardio, but it’s not true: it is primarily skeletal muscles that adapt to all kinds of exercise, get more metabolically efficient, do more with less oxygen and nutrients, and then demand less from the heart.
By the way: it turns out cardio exercise probably can also be surprisingly efficient. An excellent little Scottish experiment from 2009 (see Babraj et al) gave us startlingly “good news”, showing that it may be possible to get really fantastic bang for your exercise buck. They found that only a few 30-second sprints on a stationary bike may be nearly as effective at preventing disease as much more time-intensive traditional (cardio) exercise programs.
So muscle substantially defines fitness, and therefore considerable fitness can be achieved with strength training alone — and without the drudgery of relentless cardio workouts, and without their injury and re-injury risks. Such workouts — especially running, cycling, and swimming — are brutal on joints and tendons by nature. The risk of repetitive strain injuries are baked right into them! Strength training can keep you in shape, while also giving severely fatigued anatomy a badly needed rest — rest which is the single most important factor in rehabilitation from many of the world’s most common injuries.”
The bottom line is this. If you are already in chronic pain from either an illness or repetitive sports injuries, perhaps stopping all form of exercise is not the right answer. Instead, massage therapy, Pilates or Yoga and some strength training could very well be the answer.