What I Wish I Knew at 22

    Thoughts on Motion From a Physical Therapist For a Young Adult

    By Fortino Gonzalez, McAllen Physical Therapy

    With almost 30 years of experience treating people for pain caused by the way they move, I have learned that many of the issues I see in my adult patients are caused by a lack of preventative care.

    At age 22, you have so much energy and are in generally peak condition that moving fluidly just comes naturally to you and you don’t think about how you’re engaging (or not engaging) your body. But you won’t be young forever, and biomechanical problems will eventually make themselves known. If you can learn the right ways of taking care of yourself in your early 20’s, you’ll be set up to take care of yourself in your 30’s, 40’s, 50’s, and beyond.

    1. Build your knowledge base.  Not practicing proper posture and full range of motion over time can cause life’s minor injuries to become very painful situations. But do you know what proper posture and basic conditioning looks like? If you’ve been getting your info from or training with someone who is not a medical professional, always question your sources and make sure they have your best interest in mind. Check out my blog www.goodkarma.blog to learn about natural range of motion and posture. This “6 Simple Essentials” video is a good place to start to make sure you are on the right track. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1-F2kAYsI-8&t=1s

    2. Think about the long-term. Too often, people diet and exercise because they want to look slimmer or more muscular for a short time: summer vacation, or an event like a wedding. The “fitness” routines practiced for these reasons are more often than not unsustainable, poorly aligned with the individual’s personality and physical inclination, and unsurprisingly abandoned shortly after the achievement of the “target.” This is not really fitness. Instead, consider what condition you want to be in when you’re older, then take steps today that you can continue tomorrow. Repeat. A few ideas for fitness at any age: taking a walk (invite a pet or loved one), swimming, bicycling, and dancing.

    3. Find a routine that YOU enjoy. It’s hard to start incorporating exercise into your life when your idea of exercise consists solely of running, and you’ve tried running before and hated it – and worse, you feel bad about yourself for hating it. This may be the first time you’re hearing this, but you don’t have to run if you hate running! The unspoken truth is that Not Every Body Type is Designed to Excel at Every Activity. Some people’s builds are more inclined to weight-lifting or body-weight exercises than running, for example. Don’t beat yourself up for not enjoying the same physical activity as others. Find what moves you!  

    Explore martial arts, tai chi or  yoga, sports you never tried before, a group class or workout video. Give yourself a chance to find the activities you really connect with! Not sure where to start? Simply stretching every morning (those 6 simple essentials) will improve your quality of life.


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