We have had our resident Physio, Alex Blizzard, give us a run down on a few tricky questions for our Clicksters. One of his hottest recommendations is to make walking during the day an absolute must. Maybe start a competition among your colleagues for steps in one day? Or just see if you can beat your record from the day before and get a list of errands completed at the same time?
Is it bad for your back if you sleep on your stomach? What are the best sleeping positions?
Sleeping on your stomach can cause excessive arching in your lower back and may be ill advised for some. In an ideal world, sleeping on your side with a pillow between your knees gives you the best chance at keeping a fairly neutral posture for your lower back. This position isn’t for everyone, and many end up tossing the pillow during the night and sleeping on their stomach anyway!
As a general rule of thumb, when on your side, your head should be fairly straight; not tilted up or down. Try and get yourself into a position to fall asleep where you’re not too twisted up, that’s at least a good place to start!
What is the best thing to do for your back when you sit all day at an office job?
Exercise exercise exercise! The best thing to counteract inactivity is activity. Typically when we sit for long periods our lower back and hip musculature become quite weak and restricted from lack of use. The best way to improve this long term is to undertake some strengthening exercises for these areas. This can include resistance training at a local gym, Pilates or something similar. Obviously, if your lower back is painful it is best to consult a physiotherapist and specialists to devise a training plan to improve your pain, and to ensure the exercise you’re doing isn’t going to aggravate things.
During the day, get up and move! While this isn’t always easy when you’re slammed at work, try and walk on your lunch break and have walking meetings. Basically anything where your back can move. Sit-stand desks are also a great tool as they allow you to vary your posture throughout the day. But there is no such thing as the ‘perfect posture’ one-size-fits-all approach; we all sit and move very differently.
I’ve got a broken foot – what exercise can I do?
If you’re dealing with a broken foot, it is likely you’re not allowed to put weight through your foot. This means your options can be quite limited, but certainly not impossible! Firstly, seated or lying upper body resistance exercises are a fairly safe way to exercise without putting force through your foot. Depending on your injury, stationary cycling may also be a good option. If in doubt consult your doctor for specific restrictions, it is always better to quickly ask a professional.
I have recently started training for a half marathon. I’m still only on quite short distances (5-6km) and my legs are getting sore, particularly my calves and knees. What do you recommend is best for recovery after a run: deep heat rubs or ice packs? Also, in your opinion, how important are rest days?
Post-exercise icing is always the best option to improve your recovery. When we experience pain immediately after exercise, it is quite likely a structure (muscle, joint etc.) is getting inflamed. Putting heat on an inflamed area will actually make things slightly worse, even if it feels good at the time. Icing will reduce some of the inflammatory processes and speed up your recovery. Another great method to enhance recovery is jumping in the pool or going for a swim at the beach.
Rest days are vital, and are one of the best tools to improve your fitness levels. For example, if you run several days in a row, by the third or fourth session you’re likely feeling some fatigue from your past sessions. As a result, it becomes more difficult to push your limits and train with some intensity. This then reduces how effective your training sessions become over time. In some cases, not taking your rest days can lead to overtraining, increasing your susceptibility to injury. Long term you’re better to avoid injury by an occasional rest day rather than missing periods of training! If you’re really trying to build your fitness and just don’t want to take a rest day, give your joints a bit of a break and do some lower impact cross-training to keep your cardiovascular fitness up; swimming, cycling etc. Also try and minimise the amount of running on hard surfaces and opt for grass or more forgiving surfaces.
Thanks again to Alex for those handy tips. Having a Physio on hand this month had me thinking that while energy can be hard to muster at the end of a long day these Juice recipes are a great way to boost your morning and get you fuelled for the day ahead. I personally love to add extra ginger for a wake-up kick.
Small changes can be super effective, improving your health and wellbeing without feeling like you have to change your entire life. Our food flip of the month is actually a food tool flip. Swap your disposable plastic water bottles for an amazing reusable and health-friendly glass bottle. Having a glass bottle on your desk will not only increase your likelihood of drinking more water throughout the day, the water you drink will be free of those pesky BPAs that everyone is talking about. It will also mean you’re not contributing to plastic pollution. If you’re concerned about glass being breakable, all glass water bottles come with protective webbing that makes them just as hardy as plastic. They do cost a bit more, but we think it’s a great investment that will last for years.
As always, please let me know if there are any particular topics you would love us to look into or you have any queries or concerns. Next week will be the last blog for the year and we’ll be back in January with some awesome tips for the New Year.