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Neighbors of Kane County

Inner Strength

In The Road Less Travelled, author M. Scott Peck writes that life is hard. Nowhere is this more evident than in our modern world. While Americans have embraced a hard life, we've made it worse by ignoring our Spinal Fitness. At the center of this crisis is Sarcopenia. Sarcopenia is a muscle disorder defined as an impairment of physical function.[1] It is the primary cause of frailty, which increases your risk of going to a nursing home, experiencing falls, fractures, and hospitalizations.[2] Sarcopenia is associated with a greater risk of premature death and a lower quality of life. In the U.S., over 40 percent of men and 60 percent of women over 50 have Sarcopenia.[3] The only way to prevent and or reverse Sarcopenia is to Strenth Train for the rest of your life! 

Unfortunately, research from the National Health Interview Survey reveals that most adults (approximately 8 out of 10) in the United States do not Strength Train.[4] Of those that do, an even smaller percentage trains the muscles of the spine. Some Exercise Scientists argue that the muscle tissue surrounding the spinal column is the most important in the body because it protects the Central Nervous System (i.e., brain and spinal cord).[5] Injuries to the Central Nervous System can be catastrophic, while degenerative diseases often lead to chronic pain and dysfunction.[6] A report from the McKinley Health Center at the University of Illinois reveals that: over 50 percent of adults have had back pain in the last year; the incidence of neck pain is increasing in your ages; females who sit at a desk all day suffer from neck pain disproportionately more than males; and people with chronic neck pain use the health care system twice as much as the rest of the population.

To reduce the financial burden of muscle weakness, the Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion has set a goal to increase the number of adults that Strength Train. Given that injuries are a leading reason why people stop Strength Training, safety is critical. The spine (vertebra, intervertebral discs, muscles, tendons, and ligaments) can easily be injured when you perform strength exercises improperly. Appropriately done, Strength Training, the spine improves flexibility, reduces pain, and decreases the risk of degenerative diseases (i.e., spondylitis, stenosis, osteoporosis, kyphosis, etc.). In other words, a healthy spine reduces doctor's office visits and the use of pain management medications. Spine training can also reduce the risk of traumatic brain injuries (i.e., concussions).

As crucial as Spinal Fitness is, some take a reactive approach, acting only when a problem shows up. Of course, this is a terrible way to manage one's health. The muscles of the spine behave that same way the rest of your muscles do – they become weaker and less functional as you age. Strength Training the spine generates the same adaptive response and improvements in performance as training any other muscle in your body. Given that a strong, healthy spine is the foundation for full-body strength, why would you ever ignore this essential muscle group?

MEDFITNESS is a Strength Training Studio specializing in Small Group Personal Training. Schedule a Free Trial Workout at (630) 762-1784 or


Cao L, Morley JE. Sarcopenia Is Recognized as an Independent Condition by an

International Classification of Disease, Tenth Revision, Clinical Modification

(ICD-10-CM) Code. J Am Med Dir Assoc. (2016)

Kojima G. Frailty as a predictor of hospitalization among community-dwelling older

people: a systematic review and meta-analysis. J Epidemiol Community Health.


3. Janssen I, Heymsfield SB, Ross R. Low relative skeletal muscle mass

(Sarcopenia) in older persons is associated with functional impairment and physical

disability. J Am Geriatr Soc. (2002)

National Health Interview Survey.

Isolated Strengthening of the Low Back for the Prevention and Management of Chronic Low Back Pain. Ted Dreisinger, Ph.D. 2018, REC Conference, Minneapolis, MN.

Asanovich, M., Cornwall, R., 2015. Head and Neck Training Specialist Manual. An Evidence-Based Methodology to Strength Train the Head & Neck. Head Neck & Spine Institute.

Medx Inc., Clinical Published Research.