Think of your body as a house. If it's well-constructed, with a solid frame and a solid foundation at its core, it will serve you well for decades. If the frame and foundation are weak, the house won't stand the test of time. As for your body, it needs a solid core and a solid structure as well; without them, your body becomes prone to injury, particularly as the years advance.
That comparison – seeing your body in the same light as you might view a house – is the essence of Structurally Sound: Renovating the Middle-Aged Body, a newly released publication written by Jonathan Paull, a long-time medical exercise specialist based in a community just north of Toronto, Ontario. Paull has spent years working closely with the athletic and physiotherapy community and has come to an interesting conclusion: that traditional exercise and workout programs are just fine, as far as they go, but they can be dramatically hazardous to the aging athlete if the body's "core" – the central large muscles and the frame – aren't up to the task.
Structurally Sound advocates a new, well-informed approach to exercise and sports injury: namely, that bodies should be trained from the inside-out, with increasing emphasis on core stability, heightened flexibility and the strengthening of muscles that serve to stabilize the body's foundation. Treating a sports-related injury is one thing – but Paull wants to turn the process around by asking the middle-aged weekend warrior to pay closer attention to the kinds of issues that can prevent the injury in the first place.
As Paull himself observes in his introduction, Structurally Sound is not a book with a quick fix. It skips the TV infomercial hype and goes right back to the basics – that core and stabilizer muscles can be strengthened and that anyone, at any age, on a focused exercise program can increase their strength and flexibility. By doing so, they can avoid harmful injuries, such as a herniated disc in the lower back, that can put them on the sidelines for months. Structurally Sound is an invaluable addition to the sports and exercise-related publications already on the market.
Structurally Sound should be on the bookshelf of every adult, young and old, with an interest in exercise, athletics, nutrition and good health. There's nothing fancy here, just a return to the body basics, a reminder that just as Rome couldn't be built in a day, neither can a healthy, toned, strong body. There's some hard work ahead for the aging body – and it all starts from the inside-out.
Jonathan Paull is an author, a medical exercise specialist, a personal trainer specialist, and a lifestyle fitness and rehabilitation coach. He is also a manager and trainer at the Unfitness Club Ltd., a gym facility designed to help discharged patients with their rehabilitation programs. He is the inventor of the Catpost 2000, a single-location, stretch-and-strengthen exercise device. He can be contacted at his website: jonathanpaull.com