Is sitting down all day causing you pain?
Have you ever noticed that you can ignore all the safety advice on posture guidance regards manual handling and sitting safely at the desk – until you cant ignore the pain in your shoulder, neck, back or wrists anymore?
Most of our clients never cared for manual handling or office safety until they realised their pain and posture limitations were all linked to the way they carry the posture whether sitting down or picking up their kids.
Our bodies need strength, stability and mobility to function and hold our posture, otherwise our bodies fall apart leading to poor movement patterns, reduced mobility and increased pain
The Problem is, the pain only comes when we’re moving so it seems it’s actually the movement that causes the pain…right… wrong.
Here’s what most people’s day looks like.
We get up and sit down eating breakfast (if we have time) then we drive (sat down) to work where we sit down at the desk and work on the computer and phone half way through the day we have lunch where we’re sat down to eat, drive home and then prepare dinner before sitting down to eat and watch TV to wind down.
Throughout the day it’s safe to say most people are sat down for roughly 8 – 10 hours at least.
Imagine what that’s doing to your body, you’re bent as the knee, hips are shortened due to the bend at the hips and most people’s hips are tucked forward underneath, on top of that it’s more than likely your shoulders are rounded over as you type away.
This creates tight and short muscles and tendons around the back of the thighs, the front of the hips and places high pressure on the lower back and those rounded shoulders are causes all kinds of shoulder problems.
The facts are…
We don’t move well.
This is possibly the most obvious, yet our body can withstand plenty of abuse over time this will take its toll. Moving well comes down to using the body (it’s muscles and joints) at its optimum. Yet we tend to move in the laziest and often more demanding (on the body) way to do things – most often because it will shave off a few milliseconds of time.
2. We are not moving enough.
Possibly a good thing considering the first point, yet as we mentioned earlier our days are spent sat down for far too long. this takes it’s toll and changes our posture and muscular patterns – leading to tightness along side weak muscles.
3. We are not performance basic maintenance & mobility on our bodies.
We may even move around and exercise regularly but it’s all pounding the body and we don’t take the time to move around, de-stress and relax our body to release tension in tight muscles and allow our bodies to move freely.
But that’s the bad news.
All 3 of these factors can be placed into one principle. Moving more and well with exercises that promote strong posture, increases range of movement to optimal, reduces pain and creates improved overall movement patterns.
The Good News is… Our Bodies are incredibly versatile.
One of the reasons this causes problems for our movement is also our greatest weapon. Our body will move, and adjust to the demands we place upon it. Therefore it’s pretty easy to reverse any/all of these issues.
We just need consistency.
Our bodies weren’t tight and in pain the 1st time we sat or moved incorrectly, so it wont be fixed by doing some mobility work once. A small amount of exercise and mobility done consistent and regularly will help you move pain free in a relatively short time.
All you need to do is spend 5 minutes performing some simple mobility exercises on a daily basis.This 5 minutes spent whilst the adverts are on, or adding it into your morning routine will enhance your life.
These exercises can be found here…
I get it, 5 minutes is enough time to forget all about it. You’ll probably only remember to do these exercises when there’s pain stopping you doing something, yet the moment you stop feeling it, you’re posture, your movement will all revert back to it’s previous habits. Therefore setting these exercises into your morning and night time routine.
Here’s a few exercises and movements you could fit into a 5 minute routine to relieve your back pain
Each day we place “environmental loads” onto our bodies, whether that’s running with incorrect technique (do you know anyone who runs that’s had coaching on the running technique?), or whether it’s due to the physical demands of our jobs.
What most people don’t realise is that sitting down could be one of the worst physical demands for our bodies.
It’s likely that we spend 8 hours or more sitting each day, whether that’s whilst eating, driving, working or relaxing in front of the TV.
Sitting for long periods (6 hours or more) can cause serious mechanical issues for our joints. Simply put, we aren’t designed to sit down for long periods of time. Our posture begins to falter and our joints begin to pinch, tighten and become weak and tight altogether leading to mechanical joint problems and issues we need to work around to carry out our day to day activities.
Sitting can lead to multiple issues with our joints
- Tight Hips – Sciatica
- Low Back Pain
- Neck Pain
- Shoulder Pain
- Frozen Shoulder
- Shoulder Restrictions
- Carpel Tunnel Syndrome
Correcting these issues in the gym can be short term because the other 23 hours a day are working against what we’re doing in the gym, think of it as 1 step forwards and 3 steps (or 23 steps) backwards.
Even elite level athletes suffer, athletes can spend 3 – 4 hours training and going through tactical challenges on field but they can also spend 12 hours or more sat down playing video games, at school and other activities.
Our bodies are able to handle all kinds of abuse, but it also has it’s limits and daily repetitive habits will eventually take it’s toll. It’s often slow and unnoticed similar to adding those extra few lbs creeping on over the years.
Our bodies adapt to the environment we place it in whether that’s stressful, or stress-free our bodies will find a way to adapt and survive. If we spend most of our days in certain positions our body will adapt . So if we’re sat with rounded upper backs and tucked hips our joints will adapt and our muscles & tendons will adjust to our demands becoming shorter & tighter, opposite to longer and weaker muscles.
You might ask yourself “when do these bad habits start to take effect and, when do our bodies start to adjust?”
We’ve seen this in children as little as 9 years old – Think about when children start at primary school our children start to spend more and more time seated than playing, running etc. This is a striking similarity to when children start to use poor movement mechanics.
Why don’t we notice these changes?
If sitting with a C-shaped spine or heal striking whilst running was immediately painful we would immediately stop and avoid it in future. Yet like those few lbs of fat that have crept on we barely notice these changes until it’s too late or glaringly obvious to us that something is wrong. By that time our body has adapted to our mechanics and weaknesses have occurred.
What can you do?
The following system is designed to provide all the help you need.
If you we could rely on our 3 or 4 gym training sessions each week to get our posture fixed and sort all our issues out it would be great.
Unfortunately this is not the case, as mentioned previously elite level athletes suffer with these problems too so the gym is not enough. We need to start thinking of how we spend the other 23 hours of our day.
Imagine someone who drinks alcohol every day but can manage a run each morning, you wouldn’t consider them healthy or fit, yet we think we can out train our bad habits. Which is not to say that working out won’t help, it will certainly help strengthen our weaknesses and get us healthier, but it’s not enough on it’s own.
We need to consider our daily habits and posture when we’re seated to allow us to be pain free and move freely. Here are some of the things we can we do to help improve our movement;
- Stand More – Getting a standing desk (at least ask your H.R. or Occupational Health team before you rebuff the idea) will help improve the amount of calories you burn as well as activating your muscles in positive ways that will result in reduced your pain.
- Ensure your work space is optimised for your posture and performance needs. Click here for guidance on how to set up your work space.
- Spend 5 to 15 Minutes Mobilising Each Day – Too many people work out hard in the gym but will neglect to spend 5 – 10 minutes on mobilising and lengthening their joints and tendons. Here’s a Youtube video to mobilise your shoulders.
- Just move more! Set a reminder for every 30 to 60 minutes (set the timer on your phone to vibrate) and take a walk (you’re due a brew anyway) or stand for just 2 minutes to help your body.
Simply standing throughout the day will not only allow you to reduce aches and pains, but also improve your mechanics, whilst you also burn plenty more calories by increasing your daily activity level. Therefore standing will also provide some assistance in avoiding weight gain for those who take on board the advice here. Using a standing desk can allow you to burn up to 1000 calories MORE than sitting, when you consider that we should aim for a 500 calorie deficit per day when wanting to lose weight, simply standing up more during the day will burn enough calories to successfully lose a significant amount of weight.
STOP Running Yourself Into The Ground
Rhys Perrett here from Next Level Performance and today I want to talk about running.
It’s January and I’m seeing lot’s of people getting out in the cold, going running to hopefully lose weight.
I wanted to share with you my top 5 tips to better running. What do I mean by that? Well, I want to help you run so you can be as fit as possible as well as losing as much weight as possible.
So before I share the 5 tips, there’s hundreds of personal trainers out there all claiming different thing. That they’re different to everybody else. But, in reality, it’s really quite simple…
Yes, there’s hundreds of different kinds of running shoes you could buy, but what I’m going to focus on is your technique so you can get the most out of your exercise and be most efficient in doing so.
Let’s dive in…
One: Warm Up
Everything starts with a warm up. The most important part of a workout is the warm up. It gets you ready for your workout. It’s one of the reason why you’ll never do a running warm up in the gym because we’re not going to be running in the gym. Instead, we’re going to focus on movements related to running. Running drills are an excellent way to warm up.
Closely related to tip number one and another great way to warm up before running. You can buy a speed rope off Amazon for less than £5.00. Try doing rounds of 30 second intervals and build up going for as long as you can. It’s one of my favourite ways to get my muscles ready to exercise!
Three: Embrace Your Core
When doing your warm up and running, make sure you brace your stomach and upper body. Think like you’ve got a little child or dog…think about when they’re running and try to jump on your stomach and you tense your stomach. That’s the movement you want to practice. When running, it’s not possible to hold this brace position so think about holding your core 10-20% tight. It’s why you see many people running like sloths…because they don’t brace their core. Stand up tall.
Four: Work Your Glutes!
Your glutes are the largest muscles on your body. They’re responsible for expanding the hips and pushing forward. I’ve experienced many people having running injuries because their glutes haven’t been firing properly. A great way to get your glutes firing is by doing exercises such as the squat and hip bridge. They’re both fantastic movements which we teach at Next Level Performance too.
Five: Don’t Go Too Hard
Yes, you want to push yourself but the whole goal of running is to enjoy the experience.
Don’t run yourself into the ground. If it’s not fun, you’re not going to stick to it. Making exercise fun, again, is one of our key fundamentals at Next Level Performance for that very reason. We don’t want you to leave because you didn’t enjoy the experience!
We want to make exercise fun and enjoyable. At our Next Level Performance, everybody laughs at least once per session.
Hope you’ve enjoyed today’s ready, go out there and implement these 5 simple steps to enjoy and get better results from your running.
For more information find me on Facebook Rhys Perrett or send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org
Have a great day,
Next Level Performance.
My Top 10 Tips to Quickly Improve The Quality Of Your Sleep
I get questions all the time from clients and friends asking ‘how do I improve my sleep?’ In fact I’ve had a client tell me today she was celebrating the fact she had 7 hours sleep because it’s such a rare occasion.
People are telling me they’re for ever tired and fatigued. But the truth is, there’s lots of factors that affect the quality of your sleep. In this article, I’m going to share with you just some of the factors that have the most dramatic affect on the quality of your sleep. Even if you work on 1 or 2 of the points I’m going to share, you’ll see an amazing improvement in your own sleep (as early as tonight)…
Lets jump right in.
Caffeine is stimulant and well known for its energetic properties. It’s in products like Red bull, Monster energy drinks and coffee. Believe it or not, caffeine has been on the banned substance list for the anti doping agency. Caffeine has the potential to increase performance both mentally and physically.
However if you’re consuming caffeine; whether it’s coffee, tea or energy drinks, it’s going to affect your sleep quality.
You really want to try and limit or eliminate caffeine about six hours before you want to go to sleep. Flip your thinking and stay away from the caffeine because it will affect the quality of your sleep.
Believe it or not, Alcohol is another another substance that’s going to dramatically affect your sleep.
Try to reduce the amount you’re drinking especially on the run up to when you want to head off to bed.
We’ve all been in that situation where we hit the town on a night out (maybe it’s Christmas or New Year) and after drinking for a while, you start to feel sleepy. And once you’re in this state, you know your next night’s sleep is going to be rather shallow. It’s going to be restless and you won’t have the REM sleep to drift off into a deep sleep where the magic happens. REM deep sleep is where our body recovers and repairs.
When it comes to alcohol, try and reduce your intake or eliminate it from your diet because it’s going to affect your sleeping patterns.
The most common time for having a glass of wine or a pint of beer is when you’re winding down trying to relax. Let’s look at some other methods you could use to chill out and relax instead of reaching for another bottle of red…
Read a Book/ Listen to An Audio Book
Books are a great way to wind down, switch off from technology and chill. I’ve got a massive library of books in my office right now, just ask if you’d like some reading material and I’ll help you out.
A great way to de stress and get away from the stimulating computer screen.
Let’s talk about sleeping patterns…
When I talk about sleeping patterns, I mean establishing a certain time that you’re going to go to sleep and waking up at a certain time. After doing this for a number of days, you’ll discover how to set your body clock. You’ll no longer need an alarm clock to wake up to because your body is so used to waking up at similar times every day.
It’s funny how the mind and body work. I mean how many times have you set your alarm to wake up at 6AM for work and you wake up 5 minutes the alarm is due to go off? That’s your body clock and subconscious mind working.
De-stress and wind down
As well as having a routine, you need to factor in your wind down and chill out times. Maybe this is towards the end of the day. We touched earlier on ways to de stress including puzzles and reading a book. Make sure you’ve got a time blocked off where you can turn off all your electronics like the tv, your phone and computer and simply relax. A warm bath with Espom Salts is a great way to wind down and relax, getting you ready for a great nights sleep.
The blue stimulating light from your phone can have a detrimental affect on the quality of your sleep
If you choose to read a book, make sure it’s not on your phone. Grab a physical book or listen to an audio book. Turn off technology and have a conversation with your loved ones. Relax in the atmosphere around you.
Listen to Your Body
You’ve got to remember that if you’re fatigued or tired at all, don’t try and fight it. If you’re tired at 8 o’clock but you’d normally go to bed at 10 o’clock, head to bed right now.
And when you do finally climb into bed, make sure you don’t have your phone anywhere near you. Have it out of the room and use a mechanical alarm clock if you need one. If it’s not possible to remove your phone from your bedroom, have it at the other end of the bed on a table so it can’t distract you.
When you head into the evening, instead of using bright lights, try using calming candles to sooth your eyes and body.
This is going to be a huge factor in the quality of your sleep. Try not to drink roughly around one hour before you go to bed as that could lead to constant toilet breaks during the night. It’s all great having fluids around exercise and during the day but try and limit your intake before you sleep.
Which brings me onto my next point…
Exercise can affect your sleep.
If you’re training for instance at 8PM or 9PM, this can affect your sleep quality because you’re going to have a heightened energy response.
Think back to when you’ve exercised in the morning (which many people recommend you do)…
It sets you up for the day and fills you full of energy and vitality!
If you’re training late into the night, Id suggest you invest in some sleep supplements such as zinc or magnesium to help you relax into a deep sleep. A perfect combination is a warm bath with Espom salts addedto help send you off and unwind into a deep sleep.
So I’ve given you lots of points to work through to improve the quality of your sleep. For the best results, I suggest you use a diary, set alarms on your phone when you need to turn it off and start winding down. Otherwise, you’ll forget and never follow any of the above points.
There’s nothing stopping you from starting to work on any of the above points. Don’t put it off and procrastinate. You could be having the best nights sleep of your life tonight!
If it all sounds a little too much for you right now, then focus on simplicity and working on just two of the points. Maybe you’ll choose to read a physical book before bed every night instead of your phone. Doing only this will have a dramatic affect on your sleep.
Hope you’ve enjoyed this article. For more information how you can move to the next level in life, head on over to my website www.rhysperrett.com for more details.
Next Level Performance.