The 10% Rule


This week's question

You talk about the 10% Rule a lot, what is that and why is it important to me? My answer - A lot of my clients increase their activity level when working with me. This is great - and is the goal, but sometimes can come with an increase in discomfort or pain symptoms - why is that?

If you look back in some of my previous blog posts, you'll see I use the idea of capacity vs actual work a lot. Meaning, your capacity for doing something has to be greater than what you are trying to do, otherwise it can't be done.

A really easy analogy is to think of weightlifting. If the maximum weight your body can deadlift is 100lbs, then you will only be successful if you attempt to lift less than or equal to 100lbs. If you try to do more, either you will be unsuccessful or get hurt.

I think a lot of us understand this concept in terms of weightlifting or going to the gym, we have to increase the weight slowly and practice, when that gets easy we increase some more.

However, it seems a lot of people have trouble applying this concept to things like running, walking and even daily life. That is where the 10% rule comes in. It states that you should only increase your total work done by no more than 10% at a time. So if you have been running a mile successfully, next time you run try 1.1 miles, not 2 or 3 miles. This is where you will become unsuccessful or injured.

Same thing for daily life. If you have been home from work with an injury or home sick, then try to go back to a full work day, plus family time and maybe going out with some friends, you will likely not feel well.

Slow and steady really does win the race. Increasing activity/weight/distance by 10% may seem painstaking, but at least that increase will likely allow you to keep moving forward, and not have a setback.

Think of this when planning your next exercise/walk/run/day!

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