BY JANET MANDELSTAM
You don’t need to be recovering from an injury or surgery to be a patient at the IU Health Rehabilitation and Sports Medicine Center. You don’t even have to be in pain. Sure, the center provides all of the traditional rehabilitation services prescribed by doctors, but its series of Enhancement Programs will also help healthy Bloomingtonians become better cyclists, runners, and golfers.
These clients, says Ryan Taylor, Wellness Program coordinator, range from “weekend warriors who just want to amp up their training” to seasoned triathletes. Whatever their sport and whatever their level of skill, the goal is the same: “We’re trying to make movement as efficient as possible,” says Taylor. “It’s all about maximizing potential and minimizing risk of injury.”
Take the Gear Up Bicycle Fitting and Cycling Enhancement Program, for example. Whether the participant just rides a bike to work or is a competitive cyclist, an exercise specialist with experience and interest in cycling will assess the rider’s posture, strength, flexibility, and movement both off the bike and on a stationary trainer. Participants bring their own bicycles.
“We try to line up their position on the bike for maximum efficiency, whether it’s a road or mountain bike,” explains Taylor. Greater efficiency allows the rider to conserve more energy, which, in turn, can lead to improved performance. Data from the assessments are used to create an individual exercise program.
The center offers two programs specifically for runners. In the FrontRunner Running Enhancement Program, “we assess the runners’ form, including a video analysis of their gait, and offer corrective exercises,” says Taylor. Participants can choose a half-hour analysis based only on the video or a one-hour program that includes strength and flexibility screens and a foot posture assessment. Participants can then choose to take the FrontRunner Conditioning Class, which focuses on stretching and strengthening of the lower body.
The other running program, PoolRunner, “is less popular than FrontRunner,” says Taylor, “but is very good for runners of all levels who are not in [rehabilitation] therapy.” Participants run on an underwater treadmill in chest-deep water, but the speed, water depth, and other variables are adjusted based on the individual’s fitness level, health profile, and goals.
Golf Ready is a conditioning program designed to increase flexibility, strength, and balance as they relate to the participant’s golf swing and to promote endurance. The program, says Taylor, can benefit everyone from “high school athletes on their school’s golf team to people who have retired and want to take up the game.” Golf Ready combines a video analysis of the golfer’s swing with a physical assessment of joint mobility, ﬂexibility, strength, and balance. These data are then used to tailor an individual conditioning program specifically for golf.
Whatever the program, the exercise specialists will provide feedback and a suggested exercise regimen to follow at home. “If people are dedicated to any of these activities and want to improve,” says Taylor, “these are the programs for them.”