Sorry, it's been a while since my last post, but after a manic January with a growing business, I have been able to draw breath and get back to some admin. I am in no way complaining though, 2015 is shaping up to be brilliant.
This post was inspired by an article shared through One-Element that talks about the importance of hip strength and balance in the muscle group to avoid injury. Have a look at it here: "What's Really Causing my Thigh Pain?"
I wanted to draw attention to an often overlooked problem that many of us have with our lifestyles that can cause postural issues and pain in later life. The fact that many people sit for up to 12 hours a day at work alone has a massive impact on how your body moves and behaves. Then couple that with the modern professionals' urge to train like a loon in the evenings after work and you have the potential for problems.
So what is the issue with sitting for 12 hours?
Simple, you are in a constant state of hip flexion and spinal flexion and to varying degrees you have rounded shoulders. This causes potential tightness in the hip flexor region which causes your pelvis to tilt forward, which causes pressure on your lower back and lengthening/weakening of your glutes. The weakening of the glutes means that the body has to rely on other muscles to do their job.
Slouching forwards with rounded shoulders leads to tighter chest and shoulder muscles and lengthened/weakened back muscles, which leads to neck, back and shoulder pain.
So imagine that you have been at your desk all day and you then sit in the car or train on the way to the gym or 5 aside footy game and you get straight to work in sprinting about and lifting weights etc. The over active and tight muscles are going to be fatigued and possibly near injured, while the weakened and lengthened muscles wont be able to work effectively so requiring the body to recruit other muscles not designed for the job. A prime example of this is the glutes, which are weakened and have to be supported by the hamstrings and lower back to extend the hips and spine.
Because these muscles are not designed for the role, they too can become injured and tight.
So what can we do to prevent such issues?
- Minimise the amount of time you spend seated- simple.
- Work at a standing desk or give yourself a regular walk around to return to an upright position.
- Watch your posture when you are seated so that you can reduce shoulder roundedness and a forward head-jut.
- Increase flexibility and mobility in your hips and shoulders through effective stretching. These muscles will be short, over active and restrictive so increase their range of motion through flexibility work.
- Increase the strength and activity of the muscles that may become weakened through prolonged lengthening by using effective strength training. If you know that you have tightness in the hip flexors and chest then you may want to consider mobilising and focussing on strength in the opposing muscles such as the glutes and the upper back.
- Always warm up effectively before training/playing sport especially if you have been seated all day to reduce the risk of injury to the areas of tightness and weakness.
If the points raised above have helped but you'd like to know more then please get in touch, but for the meantime I hope you found them useful and you take care of your body. You only get one of them!