Understanding baseline status for recovery

The importance of knowing what your baseline is….

Setting a baseline for injury recovery requires you to know your starting point. Considering your starting point with rehabilitation and exercise is crucial, not only because it sets the foundation for your recovery journey, but it also helps determine the appropriate progression and recovery plan. The starting point can vary significantly between individuals, depending on current fitness level, health status, current and any pre-existing conditions.

This kind of sounds obvious but most of us forget this on occasion, a baseline gives you the ability to set goals, plan and execute the right action.

Imagine you hit 45 (based on a friend of mine whom I discussed while he got a good throwing around the clinic LOL) anyway while picking up his shoes his back gave an almighty pain… after a few days of painkillers and inability to move decided to embark on a ‘get the back pain free and fitness journey’, unfortunately he had no idea about his starting point, he hadn’t actually exercised since the birth of his 2nd child? without knowing your baseline fitness is like blindly following a map without any idea where you are! It’s a comical recipe for guess work, wasted time, and a whole lot of pain.

Picture this: he was all pumped up, ready to conquer the world of fitness and sort his back out. Shoelaces tied with determination, a water bottle, and off he set to tackle the great unknown. But wait, where do you even begin?

It’s like unfolding a 45 year old map without a start location or end point, and the map was drawn by a toddler with a crayon.

You might jog like a gazelle for a whole five minutes, only to find yourself wheezing and gasping for breath. He described running as a crash course in mastering asthmatic breathing.

And just when he was getting the hang of it, the body rebelled, sending signals like Morse code. Random twinges in places he didn’t know existed become the body’s cryptic way of telling him, “Seriously, dude, what are you doing?”

But fear not, for he was determined! jogging on..

In his quest to unlock his fitness potential, he even tried yoga, something I really like personally and have seen many people transform their body with, however…

He found himself contorted in unimaginable positions, realising that yoga mats should come with warning labels that read, “May cause unexpected shape-shifting”. I don’t know about you but I’ve often felt like the tin man out of the wizard of Oz in a Yoga class…

So, how did it finish?

Well treatment went well, 5x sessions he was pain free and moving well with rehab exercises built up over the period.

Now I hear you ask… is he back running?

I can confidently say his fitness is now on track and running, we achieved this by treating the injured area, and most importantly we accessed his overall movement, function, and exercise capacity.

Back to my initial point, what’s the baseline? by accessing what he wanted to do and comparing it to what he could actually do, gave us the vital starting point, a baseline! with a starting point and an end point, based on this we implemented a plan to achieve it.

His lesson was If you are looking to start any exercise or rehabilitation plan start with:

1# Goals – you can’t score without goals

2# Baseline – If you cannot run 2k, running 10k is impossible, know what you are capable of.

3# Plan – be realistic and flexible.

4# Record you progress

I’m going to be following this up with a series of baseline exercises that I often cover in the clinic and why, so keep an eye out for them.

Keep Well, Stay Active

Francis Connor

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