Holidays Over, New Season Kicks Off and a New Term Begins.
You’ve had a break from work, feel refreshed and now the new academic year and winter sports seasons begin. Use this strategic time of the year to refocus on your body and fitness – here are just a few things to consider whether it’s back to work, school or training.
Think Posture: You should consider your posture in everything you do! We often address seated posture (due to a majority of people being deskbound daily/or driving and then moving to TV and technologies at home), but posture affects everything you do. If you are plastering a ceiling, carrying timber, hitting a hockey ball, running, digging the garden and you have poor posture – you are not allowing your body to move/function optimally and therefore something will be taking the strain – a joint, muscle, ligament. Do this repetitively and you may well generate a problem. So, think alignment, is your spine curved gently in an S shape (see image), are your shoulders back and down, is your core (inner tummy muscles) supporting your midriff and lower back, are you lifting correctly with your legs? The list is endless, but being aware of your posture in all activities is a good start. Educating your children on good posture from an early age is so important, as they can then carry this forward through school, university, sport and into the workplace.
Breaks and Movement: Think active and include movement/stretching breaks into your deskbound day at work or school. Sitting in one position for long stretches of time puts excessive pressure through your spine, crossing your legs means you are adding even more stress. Get up and move around regularly and children make sure you have a good wander around between lessons. If your job is more active – ensure you take breaks and stretch out, especially if you repeat the same movement continually.
Fitness: if you are not already doing so, add some form of fitness into your weekly routine. There are so many benefits to regular exercise, including reduced risk of numerous diseases, weight control, improved energy, self-esteem and general well-being, the list goes on. So why not join that Pilates/Yoga class you’ve been meaning to do, get back into the gym, or build up your CV fitness with running/cycling/swimming (whatever your preference), or if this all sounds too much for you, start some good strong walks/hikes.
Too Much Too Soon: if you’ve had a break from your regular sport over the summer, don’t expect to go straight back to where you left off a couple of months ago. Build up your training gradually and allow yourself to develop that sports specific fitness again.
Workstation: re-check your desk/chair set-up – your knees should be bent at 90◦ and lower than hips (you may need to tilt your seat forwards), feet on the floor or on foot rest, sit well – engaging your core/shoulders back and down, use the support of your chair if needed, arms relaxed and comfortably bent, PC directly in front of you and at optimal height (top of screen level with your eye brows), desk at comfortable height – if adjustable – and the ultimate would be to invest in a sit/stand desk and alternate between sitting and standing throughout the day. Good posture is great, but movement is necessary too.
If Shoe Fits – Wear It: pre-season/school, check your clothing and equipment. Worn out shoes (especially unevenly worn down) will offer little or no support with the potential for injury. Work and school bags should ideally have two straps and adjusted to fit tightly against the back, just above your lumbar region (low back). If you are carrying a larger back pack, then obviously do set the hip straps to take much of the weight. Try not to overfill your bags especially for children, and pack them evenly. For single messenger style bags, ensure the strap is worn across the body to spread the weight.
We hope this gives you a few pointers to help you think body and fitness this back to it month!