Periodization is the process of an athlete going through different cycles of training throughout the year to achieve optimal performance when most needed. Have you seen a college athlete gain a ton of muscle mass from one year to the next? They weren’t maxing out their bench presses at the same time they were emphasizing skill-based drills. Periodization is also part of why it is not advised for young athletes to play the same sport all year long and why it is increasingly common to hear about linemen doing yoga.
While most of us are not elite athletes, I think periodization applies to us all. Here, in beautiful lake country Wisconsin, summer for me (and a lot of us) puts the rest of life on hold. I’m not doing any house project, and I rarely do anything (weddings, continuing education courses) that I don’t pre-determine to be an amazing time. Winter, while I do love getting outside on a daily basis, that is my time to catch up on reading, complete house projects, shop, take a trip, etc. If you are a “hockey mom,” your year may be the opposite of mine. Either way, our relative “down time” is time to take stock on what our goals are for the next year.
How this applies to therapy:
People tend to be so busy “around the holidays.” But, realize that in most cases, lasting changes in your body take time.
- If you keep putting off that nagging back pain, you may get a surprising case of sciatica when you decide to go from minimal activity all winter to lifting 100 bags of mulch the first nice weekend in March.
-You may decide that all your shoulder needs is some rest to feel better, but when you start coaching little league in the spring and your realize it is still there, that is not the best time to get help.
-If you are a runner: race season is over (besides maybe a few fun runs). Get off the treadmill. At least just do running as a compliment to your other workouts. A physical therapist, can help identify your weaknesses, and even improved the efficiency of your gait. Get ready for improved times in 2018.
I tried living in places without seasons, and I couldn’t hack it. Seasons tell me when it is time for the next phase in the periodization of my life. If a nagging injury has had you compensating around it, schedule an appointment today.