- Avoid over-doing it – Too many times I see people who have decided to carry all their groceries in one trip, or pick up a huge box of something on their own or dive straight into a 20km run after 6 months off. It always seems silly to decide to do those things in retrospect, but making two trips or getting a mate to help you lift something can save you weeks of pain, discomfort and inconvenience. Prevention is better than a cure!
- Avoid being still for too long – As animals, we didn’t evolve to sit behind a desk. Our bodies are designed to move, lift, run, jump, climb and swim. Prolonged sitting or standing means our muscles stiffen up, so when we ask them to perform a task they can falter and tear. So make sure you’re balancing your desk job with plenty of scenic walks to the printer/bathroom/break room!
- Strengthen your muscles – Resistance training is a sure fire way to prime your muscles to withstand the forces of day to day life. Being strong and flexible means that they can handle anything you throw at them. The weaker a muscle is, the easier it is for it to be overloaded and tear. It’s all about starting small and being consistent with what you lift, so you don’t over do it (see point number 1!)
- Recover well – Muscles, like any parts of our bodies, need some time off every once in a while. Challenge them with strength training, move them through their movements with mobility and stretching exercises, but then remember to care for them as well. Plenty of sleep and de-stress techniques like meditation can relieve muscle tension. Ensure you’re rehydrating with both water and wholefoods containing electrolytes to avoid cramping and fatigue. Chat to your physio/coach/trainer and make sure you’re employing rest days and de-load weeks into a training program to make sure you’re not going to crash and burn in a few weeks time.
Isabelle – Physiotherapist at The Movement Team