Why is it that we tend to take better care of our cars than we do our bodies? I think it’s because there is a specific monetary value attached to the car. We value what we pay for our car. Our bodies, on the other hand, have no intrinsic monetary value so we tend to take our physical body for granted. Typically, it’s only when our bodies break down and we have to spend money to get them fixed that we realize the value.

Time and again when I first started out in the Physical Therapy clinic, I would see patients and ask them to show me the exercises they were doing at home. What they would show me was sometimes unrecognizable. And so I learned…some people understand by reading, some by seeing, some by doing and others by a combination. My days of handing out a stock piece of paper with exercises to everyone were over!

With the introduction of the internet came another interesting realization…that reading something does not mean you know it nor does it mean you can do it. Armed with information on diseases, conditions and treatments didn’t restore people back to their normal level of function. There were still questions to be answered and gaps to be filled. Putting that knowledge into practice is not so easy.

Lastly, I began to understand that the people who could manage their own exercise programs were the ones who understood the thought process for ‘managing’ all the information and making empowered decisions. I identified 5 key concepts and put together a 10 page e-book that I give to people who sign up for my free monthly newsletter. The e-book goes into much more information but here are my 5 Steps to Thinking Like the Pros:

1. A chain is only as strong as its weakest link. The weak link might be what you see as broken or injured but you need to remember that it is a connected chain and the parts above or below the weak link might be part of the problem.
2. Cause and Effect. You need to make sure you are treating the problem (the cause) and not just the symptom (the effect).
3. An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Spending a little bit of time ‘maintaining’ your body’s strength and flexibility can save you a lot of time, pain and money later on.
4. For every action there is an equal and opposite reaction. Imposing demands on your body in small, controlled increments will allow your body to adapt to the stress and become stronger. Large, uncontrolled demands will typically result in breaking down or tearing which, for the purposes of our discussion, is not a good thing.
5. Practice makes permanent. Very simply put, if you don’t practice correctly then you will learn very well to do something incorrectly. Quality first…quantity second.

Bonus Tip: Begin with the end in mind. Steven Covey coined this phrase in his best-seller, 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. Here, this simply means to first define your end goal (e.g. resume playing competitive tennis) and then create the plan to get you there that will address all the strength, flexibility, neuromuscular control issues, etc.

Author's Bio: 

Mike Gaudette is a Registered Physical Therapist specializing in Orthopedics and Sports Medicine. To educate and empower more people to better manage their bodies and stay active, he founded the website www.myPTpro.com. www.MyPTpro.com is a membership-based site that gives its members exclusive information on physical therapy in written and video format with a knowledgebase, forums and blogs to allow members to learn from the collective experience of other members. Members have access to a team of physical therapists to have their questions answered and for guidance to help them implement their plans.