Core Exercise Concepts

The foundation pyramid of exercise

Strength, longevity, durability, function. These represent four fundamental targets for Chiropractic care and for an exercise regimen. Improved nerve, joint, and muscle function that result from Chiropractic care augments a well proportioned workout, and that workout should include elements of four different, but integrated exercise dynamics. Included are muscle strengthening, cardiovascular toning, stretching, and balance exercises.

Muscle strengthening is the first step in defining your target for an exercise outcome. Underlying the decision is the question of what type of muscle you want to develop. Lifting heavy masses through a brief number of repetitions tends to create a type of muscle, known as white muscle. White muscle has greater bulk and more massive definition, and greater strength for moving large masses for short periods of time, but lacks stamina and endurance. Its counterpart, known as red muscle, is developed by lifting lesser weights through a more extended number of repetitions. More like the lean muscle seen on runners or long distance swimmers, and while it can’t move the more massive weights associated with white muscle, it has greater endurance and the more lean, sculpted look.

Cardiovascular training is the next step of exercise regimen, and its focus is the improvement of oxygen and nutrient delivery to muscles, and elimination of waste from active tissues. Any activity that increases demand for oxygen in the muscles, and increases the heart rate to deliver
it, improves the overall cardiovascular efficiency. Charts are usually available to suggest the target heart rate for your age and body weight. You can also use techniques such as sprint-walk interval training to force the muscles into a demand that exceeds the ability of oxygen to be delivered and utilized. By forcing the repeat cycles of depletion and recovery, aerobic fitness is improved the beyond the levels of sustained aerobic activity.

The third pillar of the exercise foundation is stretching. The benefits of a stretching regimen begin with maintaining range of motion and pliability within the joints, extend to the lengthening of muscle limitations, and include the benefits of improved drainage of waste products and beneficial patterning of nerve reflexes designed to protect the muscles and the joints. It is commonly one of the more overlooked aspects of an exercise regimen in spite of its importance, particularly when the elements of pliability and nerve reflex patterning are considered in their role of avoiding injury.

The final point to the exercise framework is the role and value of balance exercises in training the nervous system to perform in its communication with the brain and the motor nerves. A regimen that includes balance exercises stimulates sensory nerves, improving the synaptic connection with the motor nerves that control muscle function. The balance mechanism is a hierarchical tier of control that begins with local muscle reflex, progresses to the global muscle reflex that are triggered by input through the spinal cord, and is overseen by the vestibular balance mechanism which generates control from the brain as a result of processing musculoskeletal inputs in conjunction with sight and inner ear information. Incorporating balance activities into an exercise regimen trains the nervous system to a higher level of performance, in both the sensory input and motor output pathways. Benefits include improved coordination, reduction of falls, reduction of musculoskeletal and joint injury, and improved reflexes.

Chiropractic care is an integral part of improving performance in the body. By removing interference to nerve function, and improving restrictions to joint function, Chiropractic care effectively turns up the power. Much like turning up a rheostat increases the amount of light obtained from a light bulb, the removal of nerve interference allows greater gains from a given amount of exercise.

Setup to work properly the muscle is built to be powerful and durable, the cardiovascular is tuned to deliver oxygen and remove waste, the joints and ligaments are prepared for their full range of motion, the nervous system is open and educated to quick, smooth, and well-organized control of both reflexive and intentional actions.