At the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, many of us were forced to slow down. Gyms, clinics, and training centers closed or limited access to stop the spread, and people were more sedentary than before.

Being inactive can pose many health risks, especially as your patients or clients try and get back in to their normal, pre-shutdown routine. Sometimes, getting back into the routine leads to injury, especially after being dormant for longer than expected.

How can we encourage our patients and clients to move again without injury? Or how can we, ourselves, begin to move again without injury? Simple: common sense and Applied Functional Science®.

How Common Sense Can Prevent Injuries

It might sound overly simplistic to rely on “common sense” for injury prevention, but it aligns with Gray Institute’s individualized, holistic approach to movement and assessments.

You should always use sound judgment when creating workouts or treatment plans for your clients and patients. But, if you’re taking a one-size-fits-all approach, assuming that everyone’s goals and needs are relatively similar, you’re setting yourself up for disappointment.

Real common-sense care is grounded in observation. Once you understand your clients and patients’ current abilities, goals, and history, you can start assessing their movement and building a plan.

Sometimes, unidentified dysfunction, caused by months of inactivity, can lead to negative Chain Reactions® that make people prone to injury. Identifying these risk factors early on can keep your patients or clients active and healthy.

“Common sense” also involves assigning real-world, common movements being sensitive to how our body feels, reacts, and recovers.

RELATED: You Should View Rehab, Training, and Injury Prevention as the Same Thing. Here’s Why

How Individualized Assessments and Tweaks Can Prevent Injuries

This integrated approach to movement lets us, our patients, and our clients safely return to activity, erring on the side of not going too hard, too far, too fast, or too heavy. When you’re ready (in mind, body, and spirit), you can tweak their workouts and treatment plans to go harder, further, faster, or heavier—progressing their movements.

Once your clients or patients can sense how their body feels during and after activity again, then you can collectively decide how to progress their workouts. That is where we, as movement professionals, can really provide enhanced guidance. Depending on each individual’s goals, we can tweak familiar movements in a manner that begins with success and progresses based on their needs, wants, goals.

This process must be individualized and should not be standard across the board. That’s where Applied Functional Science® (AFS) comes in, basing your decisions on physical, biological, and behavioral principles and making you treatment and training purposeful, individualized, and ongoing.

When it comes to tweaking movements for purpose, Gray Institute explores 10 Observational Essentials (variables to movement) in its Certification in Applied Functional Science (CAFS). CAFS identifies how to use the following variables to enhance movement:

  • Action
  • Environment
  • Position
  • Driver
  • Direction
  • Height
  • Distance
  • Load
  • Rate
  • Duration

RELATED: How Personal Trainers Can Break Workout Plateaus Using AFS

Activate the Body and Mind With Mobility Analysis Movements

As you jump back into a more active routine, it is important to begin with what is familiar. However, we suggest adding in something that may not be as familiar as a “warm-up” that will move all your joints in three planes of motion, turn-on your muscles, and ignite your proprioceptors. This will enhance your familiar workout.

This “warm-up” is the Mobility Analysis Movements of 3DMAPS® (3D Movement Analysis & Performance System), which leverages lunges and bilateral hand swings to prepare and empower the body for anything and everything.

In the corresponding vlog, we demonstrate these movements and explain how to progress this warm-up, as one is comfortable, by going a little further, a little faster, or adding a little load.

As a person, this warm-up will allow you to be more prepared to take on the normal routine. As a professional, this warm-up doubles as the premier assessment in the movement industry. In other words, this approach is a win-win!

RELATED: 3 Things Every Physical Therapist Should Know About a Lunge Matrix

Ready to Learn More About Our Body’s Chain Reactions? Discover CAFS

If you’re intrigued by the truths of Applied Functional Science, CAFS is for you. This certification introduces you to a revolutionary and science-based approach to movement and biomechanics. This course can improve your assessments, workouts, treatment recommendations, and deepen your understanding of human movement.

Dr. Gary Gray, founder of Gray Institute, introduced AFS more than four decades ago—and has been changing the lives of movement professionals ever since. If you would like to learn more about Applied Functional Science and our continuing education courses, contact us today. We’re excited to speak with you!