A Topic of Conversation
Does practice make perfect?
No. Repeating something done badly gives quite the opposite in result. Let’s take running for example because a lot of people are out running in this isolation period. If I go out and run and do around 10,000 paces or 5km but my technique is slightly wrong, I’ve basically programmed my body that this is perfect technique so it will repeat that pattern. This wrong pattern repeated will cause excessive wear and tear and lead to an injury or building up or imbalances around your body.
Swimming is also a great example too. People ask me if swimming is the best exercise for them because they’re in a state of not being able to do anything with impact because of pain. Swimming is great because it removes pressure on your joints from impact. The bad thing is it needs to be done correctly. People swim breast stroke with their head above the water at all times and have an uneven kick with their legs. They go regular. They also complain of a tight neck and shoulders and lower back pain. They repeat this poor technique over and over which strains their neck from holding for 30-40 mins in an awkward position. The lower back pain is from a build up of muscular imbalances around her pelvis.
PRACTICE DOESN’T MAKE PERFECT. PERFECT PRACTICE MAKES PERFECT!
This concept can be added to anything from stretching, exercise or a learned skill. I appreciate people are wanting to get out and get fresh air but at the same time you need awareness of what your body is doing or trying to tell you. If the pain or ache goes after the first mile, it doesn’t mean it’s ok. It basically means you’re teaching yourself to override warning signals.
Add strength, conditioning and technique to your training and learn where your body is restricted and why. How is your foot working? Is your pelvis level? How do the curves of your spine look? Is your head too far forward? All of these questions are so much more important than burning calories because if you don’t look after these points, a part of your body might break and then you won’t be able to do the thing you love anymore.
Sometimes less is more. Slow things down and get it right. Teach yourself how to do it right and get it right. Practice with perfect technique and you’ll be able to continue for longer.
Working From Home and the Overlooked Issues
Are you protected as a company? Are you protecting yourself as an employee?
Working from home at a time like this is getting us through an exceptionally difficult and complex period. It is allowing companies to carry on trading and it’s allowing employees to carry on earning a living. Something that I’ve found to be overlooked at this time is the working from home set up, with people working in a makeshift desk – the dining room table, or hunched over a laptop on the sofa.
I want to stress that I am not a massive fan of the generic ergonomic set up. I think it has it’s flaws and it isn’t realistic. Stating things like you should not sit in one position for longer than an hour but only giving you one position to sit in. It is not realistic as we all need to get work done productively over an 8 hour window. It gives you a guideline position but without going in to any depth as to what muscles you should be using and the implications of using the wrong muscles while seated or standing for prolonged periods.
THIS IS THE MOST IMPORTANT THING.
Basic mistakes and misconceptions are the thing that I find create the issues of pains from poor workspace set-ups. As soon as you have the knowledge of how to engage your body correctly, you can adapt it to any environment, whether it be at work at your desk, in a meeting, in your car, exercising or sat on your sofa.
I find I can keep people pain-free more easily than I can get them out of pain. I specialise in posture and poor posture is created over time by dysfunction. Posture correction is something that I can address and educate people on within the space of an hour but it’s something that takes time to fully correct. If I meet a client who is in pain on a daily basis, this means that their body is already misaligned and dysfunctional. This requires 1:1 sessions and dedication to correct the issues as quickly as possible. If I see someone who does not suffer from regular aches and pains, I can easily give them tips to ensure they understand their bodies and then give them the tools to stay out of pain. Without the gym. Without special furniture. Without time away from their desk.
Things that I cover in my Posture Workshops are:
- Postural muscles (the core)
- How to control these correctly
- Misconceptions of what good posture is
- The links between physical and mental health
- How to assess and address your posture
- How to reverse negative positions or prevent them
- Understanding common daily pains and how to get rid of them
- Breathing technique to minimise stress
These workshops can be split up into specific topics or covered in one go to provide the right information across and help protect everyone. Every workshop can be tailored to suit your business needs and budget.
Why you shouldn't be doing sit ups or crunches!
So you want a at stomach or a six pack? I hear you, but sit ups and crunches aren’t the way forward. They can have quite the opposite affect, especially if you neglect lower back extensions.
Thing is, a sit up and a crunch is the action of you tilting your rib cage into the abdominal void. People do this action with their chin on their chest or with their head forced forward. These postures promote kyphosis (hunchback) and forward head posture. These postures can be the root cause of a lot of common pains like tension headaches, shoulder pain and neck pains.
A strong abdomen is essential for maintaining good posture and a healthy spine, but how we gain that strength has been lost over time. Doing the plank can be useful, but that has its drawbacks too. Holding the plank whilst engaging the core muscles is good for strengthening, but that’s promoting rounded shoulders and it’s a static action which doesn’t really help with dynamic movements.
I find engaging the core as much as possible during your day to be the key to a strong core. In your car, at your desk and on your sofa. These are common areas where your core is disengaged and your body is susceptible to issues. Your stomach will become flatter as a byproduct of doing this simple change to your life, on a daily basis without the hunch back.
If you’re wanting to take your core to the next level I recommend doing side plank dips, dead bugs and standing or Russian twists. Some people may of never heard of these exercises. It’s important to be able to engage your whole core whilst moving. That’s what it’s designed to do! To reconnect with these muscles on a daily basis and engage them for as long as possible will help your body in so many ways without the mind numbing repetition of the sit up.
Bodybuilding vs. Body Balancing
Bodybuilding is very popular and it has been for some time, since the world saw Arnold Schwarzenegger competing on stage in the Seventies. Bodybuilding is not about how strong you are, it’s all about aesthetics. I can see why it’s desirable to so many people, but I can’t stop asking myself, is it worth it to look a certain way over having a functional body? Yes, you can technically lift a heavy weight, but its in a repetitive, linear movement which is no use for mobility or functionality.
Surely, after decades of being popular, this will catch up with people, combined with the fact it’s not maintainable to look this way for very long.
For me personally, I prefer body balancing. Having strength, flexibility and mobility through every joint and muscle, and being able to control your own body weight through a full range of motion. Things like Callisthenics, Yoga, Pilates etc are all ways to ensure you stay active, strong and fit for the rest of your life. It’s something maintainable and it’s something to add longevity to your body and will give you the upper hand when old age comes knocking at your door. It’s also something that you will never fully perfect so you always have a goal to reach for.
Not to discredit bodybuilding because I have massive respect for everyone who dedicates time and effort into their diet and training to get the best results.
The problem is, I treat so many bodybuilders with injuries and problems with their mobility. Torn muscles, postural defects such as an anterior pelvic tilt, rounded shoulders and muscular imbalances. Biceps and lats that are so big you can’t straighten your arm or put it down by the side of your body, or a torso so thick you can’t twist your spine. These are all ailments that will massively affect your mobility in later life, if they are not already affecting you.
Consuming triple the amount of the calories needed to get extra body mass must put strain on your organs as well. Lifting heavy weights is constantly putting immense strain on your nervous system, muscles and joints can’t be good over the long term.
Body balancing doesn’t have to mean you’re weak or all low intensity, or mean you can’t gain muscle. Far from it! You can make the workout as low or high intensity as you like. That’s why I like it, as you can do full body workouts but differentiate the intensities so you can maintain a training pattern without going to the gym every day or neglecting certain areas of your body….skipping leg day…
So I’m talking in very general terms here but the majority of people lifting heavy weights regularly have limited range of motion. To be honest a lot of people do, because they don’t stretch enough (this is a blog topic in it’s own right!) But by lifting weights you are strengthening your muscle tissue but you’re also shortening its length. This is why stretching is so important to release pressure from your joints. The more pressure your muscles are adding to joints, the extra pressure from the weights is only going to wear the joint even more. The fact a lot of people don’t warm up properly before weight lifting is making this wear and tear even worse because you’re not preparing your body adequately and allowing synovial fluid to lubricate the joint first before this load is added.
By doing body balancing you can go through the full range of mobility to warm up, do the desired workout and cool down with stretches and it can all be integrated in one workout, in one area without the need for changing machines or waiting for weights to become free.
For me body balancing wins but I’d love to hear your thoughts and opinions!
Posture – pain – work – wellness
I love being able to help so many people become pain-free. It’s an even better feeling when I educate individuals and give them the tools to help themselves to not be in that same pain again. Self reliance, no pain, wellness dream.
Now how about I come at this from a different angle? Imagine you’re in pain all the time, you’re uncomfortable all the time, you are not able to sleep, socialise or do any of your hobbies? How does this feel? Let down by the system, let down by work and feeling helpless. Physical pain and mental fatigue have a massive crossover when it comes to your wellness.
Poor sleep can cause you to be stressed. Stress can tighten your muscles. Tight muscles can cause you pain.
Tight muscles can cause you pain. Pain can cause you to be stressed. Stress can induce poor sleep.
No matter which way round this vicious circle is going it sounds like a pretty poor outcome!
I’ve found that the common denominator in most injuries and pains comes from poor posture. It’s the silent assassin that creeps up on you over time and then BAM! You slip a disc or cough and dislodge a rib. You don’t realise until it’s too late.
Our skeleton is held up by our muscles. Our skeleton is so strong and resilient – but only if it’s used correctly. If we use it and treat it poorly, then it won’t be happy! The old saying ‘wear and tear’ really winds me up. Yes, we get old, and yes, we wear our joints but if they are misaligned through poor posture and tight muscles, they will wear a great deal quicker just like any joint known to man.
Let’s try this for a circle..
Good posture. Less tension on your muscles. No pain. No stress from inside the body. Better sleep.
Gaining good posture takes effort because we’ve overlooked it for so long and got into bad postural habits.
‘Wellness’ is a broad topic which physical health is definitely a part of. It’s not about going to the gym, it’s not about spending hours doing repetitive actions, and it’s not about expensive ergonomic chairs and desks. It’s about learning what your core is and how to use it properly again. It’s something we can do whilst we’re sat in the car, at work, walking round the shops and sat at home on the sofa. Core work isn’t about holding the plank for hours, or extensive sit ups or ab work outs, it’s about engaging the correct muscles and putting your skeleton under less stress, in whatever position we choose to put it in.
Having a body with less restrictions can free your mind to do great things.
Copyright Magna Therapy and Massage Ltd