What is the Key to Growth?
By Troy Vander Molen, PT, DPT
As I sit in a beautiful condominium just a few minutes’ walk from the Atlantic Ocean in Hilton Head Island, SC, I can’t help but feel conflicted. I am grateful for this time away with my family. These moments come infrequently, and our three kids – all teenagers – will be out of the house before my wife and I know it. We are blessed beyond measure!
However, there is still a small part of me that feels guilty for not being back home contributing to the Kinetic Edge team’s mission of transforming lives and restoring hope through movement. It is my life’s mission to help people grow in their ability to move and function using my unique, God-given gifts, talents, and passions, and for a few moments this week I’m stepping away from that mission.
As I sit here and contemplate the meaning of this inner conflict, I am reminded of a book that I read last year: Peak Performance: Elevate Your Game, Avoid Burnout, and Thrive with the New Science of Success. Written by Brad Stulberg and Steve Magness, the authors highlighted how the world’s best performers – in sport, art, and business – follow a common pathway to growth by taking on challenges that make themselves uncomfortable (stress) and then follow up with recovery and reflection (rest).
Stress + Rest = Growth
The best performers in the world will crash and burn if they get out of balance. Too much stress and not enough rest leads to injury, illness, or burnout, but too much rest and not enough stress leads to complacency.
In order to grow, we need to step out of our comfort zones. We need to seek out stress. We need to get comfortable with being uncomfortable. This path to personal development is active and counter to complacency.
In today’s culture of accomplishment, it seems counter-intuitive to rest. But rest is also essential.
Brad Stulberg states it well:
There is real magic in stepping away. Though it may seem paradoxical, after a certain point, it’s not hard work that is the key to improvement. It’s rest. It’s only when we step away – nothing more power than when we sleep – that both our bodies and brains rebuild and strengthen.
When we rest, hormones like testosterone and HGH are released, and these chemicals make us more resilient to future challenges. But the benefits of rest are beneficial for more than just our bodies. When we daydream, let our minds wander, and relax, our subconscious minds go to work, and when we sleep – really sleep – our brains process, consolidate, connect, and store all the information we were exposed to during the day. Cut that process short, and you will limit your growth and development.
This sounds like physical rehabilitation
I often explain my career as a physical therapist in the following simplistic way: I stress the body. If someone comes to me with a pain or dysfunction, I have a variety of treatments at my disposal that can reduce the pain. These are important, but the physical issue isn’t truly resolved until we get to the root of the problem, and that requires me to find the right stress to the right tissue at the right time to generate the right response.
Our bodies are made to adapt. Apply a stress – the right stress at the right time to the right tissue – and the body will accommodate and get better at handling new and greater stresses.
But, here’s the tricky part. Most of the body parts that are hurting are likely experiencing an overload. For some reason or another, that part is getting too much stress and not enough rest, so the growth equation is out of balance. To take the load off the over-stressed body part, we need to find the root problem and make sure that this area is taking care of business in the way it was designed.
That’s physical rehabilitation. It’s about finding the right balance between stress and rest.
Maybe that’s the problem…
If you’ve been dealing with a physical problem for some time, think about it through the lens of the stress/rest equation.
If you’ve had treatments that simply attempt to eliminate the pain, you probably haven’t gotten to the root of the problem. Medications, injections, electrical stimulation, and ultrasound treat the site of the pain but not the root cause of the pain. Though they can be an important part of the rehab process, they don’t provide stress or rest. They simply mask the pain and the root problem.
If you have pursued treatment that simply looked at the site of the pain but not the entire movement environment, you’ve probably had incomplete care. Incomplete care leads to temporary results. Like growth in any area, your body needs a balance of stress and rest, and a physical therapist or occupational therapist with knowledge of how to stress the right tissues in order to eliminate stress (or provide rest) to the sore tissue is a great resource that can lead to a physical transformation.
So, if you want to find out how get to the root of the problem and grow out of your physical problem by finding the right balance to the stress/rest equation, just give us a call at 866-588-0230 and schedule a free screen. Our friendly movement experts will spend 20 minutes with you and let you know how you can solve your problem for good by applying the right stress to the right tissue at the right time.
Is that out of your comfort zone? Well, that may be necessary for you to find success. And one lucky client who takes us up on our offer in the month of August will win a free copy of the Peak Performance book by Stulberg and Magness. Call today!
Now, back to the beach!