How to have a healthier 2017

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First things first… if you are someone who has been battling injuries for the whole of 2016 and feel you have been going around in circles, it is time to start 2017 off right!

Wellness check:
An option I suggest is to book yourself in with your local physiotherapist for a full wellness check.  Ask them for a biomechanical assessment as well as a functional movement screen.

These two tests can help pinpoint your strengths and weaknesses so you can create a training programme specifically for you (not a generic programme that could injure you further).

It is key to know how your body moves and what its weaknesses are, to get the most out of your workouts and get the right balance for your body. A Functional Movement Screen (FMS) identifies areas of weakness and tightness and may predict the likelihood of future injury.

A Biomechanical Assessment is an assessment of movement which can explore specific areas identified by the FMS to find the underlying cause of the movement or strength limitations. It can also identify imbalance or lack of symmetry in the body and postural abnormalities.

Exercise:
Once you have had your wellness check; start exercising. You don’t always have to be in the gym; go for a walk, play tennis, go surfing…just getting active will release those good endorphins and make you feel great.

When you go back to work make sure you take regular breaks to stretch and move around. If you are in a physical job; warm the body up before you start the day by stretching key muscles you use, jump on your oov and fire up your core… and then do the same after your shift to help relieve any tightness.

Nutrition:
Although exercising plays a huge part in how we feel; if you are not backing it up with healthy eating and fuelling your body with the right food, you will just keep putting stress on your body.

Stretching:
Most of us don’t like to take the time out to stretch because it seems like a waste of time. In fact; this is key to your body’s recovery before and after a workout. It is also important to mix up your workouts with weights, cardio and stretching such as yoga.

This is to give different muscle groups a break and to pinpoint different muscle groups to help with your overall strength. Classes like yoga are fantastic to lengthen and strengthen your body, create good breathing patterns and relaxation, which is good for the mind.

My favourite stretch (and this is something you can do at home) is the Psoas stretch.

The Psoas muscle, in my opinion, is one of the most important muscles in your body. It plays a significant role in determining the efficacy of spinal function.

The three basics of why the Psoas is so important:
1. It holds us upright (when we stand the Psoas crosses the rim of our pelvis and pulls the lumbar vertebrae forward and down creating this important curve which allows us to stand upright).
2. It is the walking muscle (the Psoas muscle initiates the movement for walking)
3. Helps us react to traumatic situations (most movements made in a traumatic situation will include the Psoas muscle e.g. running away from something when in danger etc.).

To sum it up; the Psoas is an extremely important muscle and needs to be looked after to get the most out of your workouts and daily life.

Self care:
Although we all lead busy lives with work/meetings, catching up with friends, running around after the kids… it is so important to take time out for yourself. If you feel great it will rub off on everyone around you.

For 2017, make a key focus on knowing your body’s weakness – this is key to improving your overall fitness and wellbeing.


Below is a great stretch you can do at home to release the Psoas:

Goal: Release the tightness in your Psoas
Improves: Normal posture, hip extension, glute activation
Reduces: Lower back and hip pain
Instructions:
1)     Get in to a lunge position with the knee resting on the floor
2)     Head, shoulder, hip and grounded knee should be in line
3)     Relax and find your stability in the position
4)     Squeeze your glutes as you tilt your hips forward
5)     Hold the position for 30-60 seconds, repeat 2 to 3 times then switch sides

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