It is vital that you prepare your musculoskeletal system for the task you expect it to do. For lifting and bending activities, running, and sitting - do not forget that your intervertebral discs (your spinal shock absorbers) are most vulnerable the first hour after you get up. The internal pressure is higher as they are more “plumped up” - so ease into the day, wait a little until you start loading these tissues up.
The concept of rest breaks can be used for across the board; if you are sat down most of the day your “rest break” should be movement, walking, standing - moving away from the static loading of tissues you have built up whilst sat down. For gardening enthusiast who spend a lot of time bent forward, you need to add the opposite movement in your rest break, such as the cobra position or hook lying position. If your main exercise is sitting as in cycling - you would need your rest break to be something different, for example standing stretches or floor work.
For golfers and those who play racquet sports this will mean loosening up tight shoulders and hips and doing core exercises prior to a game so to minimise the risk of injury and switching on the activity of the spinal stabilisers
The point is that whatever position you spend a lot of time in should not be the same position as you exercise in. So, for those who spend the whole day sitting down - rowing or cycling are probably not the best options - this way you will almost certainly “concrete in” the postural issues built up from desk work.
Lockdown may have highlighted these issues, but I am sure that many of you will have been in similar situations in the past and very likely you may encounter them again.
How can we avoid this scenario?
Many of the injuries that occur from training, can be broken down into these categories:
The key here is to differentiate between "pain" and "discomfort" when exercising. Effort and discomfort often go hand in hand, and we may call it good pain, or even useful pain. When this becomes actual pain — burning or stabbing or sharp — that is a signal for you to stop.
Chose mobility instead of miles pounded on the treadmill. Chose flexibility and agility rather than high intensity and burn! Learn to manage your own body weight and improve all your ranges of movement rather than throwing heavy weights around the gym. Be balanced, be gentle and listen to your body. Take responsibility for your own health and well-being and you will limit the harmful effect that stress, lack of exercise, too much sitting and poor posture can place upon your body, joints, and overall health. Invest in your health and fitness portfolio!
*not all online exercise videos are created by fitness professionals, and not all fitness professionals create fitness videos!
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