It never ceases to amaze us how many times we hear things like this:

“I’ve been running on a treadmill for an hour every day for a year, but haven’t lost weight”

“I’ve been stretching my hamstrings every morning for the past 8 years, but they still feel tight”

“I’ve been doing this exercise for 4 months and my shoulder isn’t any better”

Now… this may sound overly simplistic but… If you have been doing something for a WHILE and you aren’t getting the results you want, STOP because you are wasting your time! Either the activity itself is pointless given your goals, or you just aren’t doing it right to get what you want out of it. You have a few of options here.

1) If you like the activity and the way you are doing it (or if you just have a lot of free time and don’t really care about your goal), continue to do it but with a different intention. “I run every morning because I like to… I stretch my hamstrings because it feels good… I like doing this dumb exercise because the PT was really hot and it reminds me of him”. Bringing honesty to your practice can help you be a little more realistic, if not accurate. You might even find that you were just using it as a reason to complain (because there aren’t enough other things to talk about).

2) Do something else. What you are doing the way you are doing it is clearly NOT working. If you want to lose weight, perhaps change your diet or do some interval training. Tight hamstrings? Try foam rolling and then pelvic articulation exercises, maybe. Effed up shoulder? Get a second opinion or see another PT. Not sure what to do to help you? Hire a qualified professional. That’s what we are there for. It might be a monetary investment, but it will prevent you from wasting all your time on things that aren’t working (and probably looking like a jackass in the process).

3) Do it right. Maybe you think you are doing the right thing because someone else had success with it, but please know that just because it worked for someone else, doesn’t mean it will work for you. If you are still convinced that this particular activity will help you, you need to learn how to do it correctly, because most likely you are not. Maybe you weren’t paying attention when your PT showed you the shoulder exercise and you are doing it differently. Perhaps you are not ACTUALLY stretching your hamstrings, but you are only stretching your low back. Perhaps you should try running outside and actually moving your body through space. Again, if you don’t know what you are doing, it is always worth the investment to hire a professional.