It’s March. Winter is still kind of slinking around. Spring is just not quite ready to make an appearance. Our winter clothes are starting to feel like pajamas, but it’s too soon for busting out the new wardrobe. It’s that time of year when everything can just feel a bit…blah. Not exactly the kind of days when you wake up ready to spring out of bead for a six-mile run around the harbor. So this month, we’re talking to Erick Baier of MAC Wellness about his specialty– rehabilitative exercise– and why sometimes fitness really means taking it easy.
BFB: Tell us about yourself. How did you get into rehabilitative work?
Erick Baier: I was born and raised in Fallston, Maryland. After graduating, I attended Salisbury University where I obtained my BS degree in Exercise Science. From a young age, I have always been involved with sports such as football, soccer, and ice hockey. Throughout my sports career my main focus was ice hockey. I played ice hockey for Fallston and participated in various travel leagues. Unfortunately, in my senior year at Fallston, I injured my knee. I found myself without a real outlet, since all I had ever known was sports. My freshman year of college I was introduced to the gym scene; I was hooked! After finding a positive outlet in the gym, I decided to change my major from Biology to Exercise Science. I wanted to better understand the mechanics and physiology of the human body. I really became involved in rehabilitative work because having experienced my own personal injury, I understand the rehabilitation process and the work that is involved (as well as having a knowledgeable background within the field).
BFB: So, who is this kind of training for? Athletes only? Patients post-surgery? How do you know if you’re someone who could benefit from this?
EB: One of the greatest things about rehabilitative training is everyone can benefit from it: athletes both post- and pre-surgery, and regular exercise enthusiasts with overuse injuries. Everyone has something nagging that often prevents them from continuing on a path of regular exercise. At the MAC, we want everyone healthy so nothing keeps them from enjoying the benefits of exercise.
BFB: What sorts of things make up rehabilitative exercise? Is there much opportunity for the more “fun” aspects of being at a gym? Like group classes or using the pool?
EB: The exercises that work well with my rehabilitative clients are Manual Exercises. As the trainer, I provide the resistance. This gives me the opportunity to observe and determine their strength ability in that specific injured area. From there, I can provide a fun and motivational workout specified for my client.
The opportunity to make exercise fun is endless. At the MAC, we provide a wide variety of group classes and aquatics classes. If you are recovering from an injury, aquatics are always a great way to start! Aquatic exercise involves little to no impact on any major joint. Aquatic exercise is also a great alternative to land exercise.
BFB: What kind of results have you seen in your clients?
EB: I have seen tremendous results with my clients! My greatest success story is with one of my first clients at the MAC: a 24-year-old female suffered a life changing accident that destroyed her right leg. With seven reconstructive surgeries, we knew we had a long road ahead of us. When I began training her, she had no core strength, no lower body strength, and hardly any cardiac capacity. After several months of working together we started noticing a major increase in muscle strength. Within no time she was walking with no assistance! Seeing the look on her face, realizing that she could walk, was one of my greatest moments as a trainer.
BFB: Wow. That’s amazing. So, given your area of expertise, you seem like you might be a good person to give advice to people who’ve never exercised before. What would you suggest for folks who feel that they’re so out of shape, just the idea of exercise makes their heart beat faster?
EB: Make it fun!! If you are just starting out, make small goals so you do not overwhelm yourself. Take it one step at a time. Easy tip: Make a play list of your favorite songs and go for a walk or run. See how many songs you can get through. This will help you gauge your time. Once you have established how many songs you can go for, begin adding one or two songs to your playlist. Before you know it you will be walking for more than an hour!
BFB: Any final words of wisdom on health and fitness? A personal philosophy for wellness?
EB: Make it easy, make it fun, and do it with your heart (and for your heart)!
BFB: Excellent advice. Thanks, Erick!
For more information about the MAC, or to schedule an appointment with Erick, visit www.macwellness.com