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Working from home – Stretching it all out!

Posted by admin on April 27, 2020
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Being in the seated position for many hours a day creates tension in many areas.

Here are some simple stretches which will help to open the areas which get tight when we sit for long periods of time.  Ensure all stretches feel good, rather than painfully intense and hold them for 30-60 seconds.  Check out the video below, showing these stretches in action.

Upper Trap (side neck/top shoulder) roll shoulders back and down, then tilt head to the right (ear to shoulder) feeling the stretch in the left side of the neck (vice versa for the other side).  Extend the stretch by placing your right hand on your head and applying a little pressure.  Transfer the stretch into the back and side of the neck by bringing your head forwards a little. Find the bit that feels tightest and hold that position.

  Pecs (chest) – using the corner of a room; raise your arms to the side and bend your elbows to 90degrees, place forearms and hands on the wall and gently press in towards the wall.  Vary the position of the hands up and down to stretch the different areas of the pectoral muscles.

 

Quads (front of the thigh) – stand up and bring one heel up towards your bottom, holding the ankle with your hand if you can. Keep your knees together, body upright and spine straight.  If unable to reach round to the ankle, try it lying down using a belt or exercise band to pull the foot towards your bottom. Or if you have company, ask someone to move your foot for you, while you relax.

Hip Flexors (deep into the front of the hip) – Start kneeling and take one foot forwards, creating a right angle at the knee.  Keep your body tall and straight.  To feel the stretch push forwards into the front knee, moving the front foot forwards so your knee doesn’t go past your toes.  Don’t let your lower back arch – you will lose the stretch.  Keep your tummy zipped up and low back straight. You may feel the stretch in the upper part of your thigh and deep into the front of the hip.

Upper back Roll – if you have a roller this is great for easing the upper back tension created by sitting for hours.  Place the roller against a wall, lean against it with your upper back.  Have your feet one in front of the other so you can apply pressure, while you lift and sink using your knees. Try to relax you chest and arms.  Work up and down the mid to upper back, keeping the pressure so that it feels good and not painful. Try 1 minute of rolling, stop, move around and roll a bit more if needed. (Sorry no Picture)

Perhaps try to fit these stretches into your day on a regular basis.  Take a break, stretch while you let the kettle boil! Keep moving and keep well.

Video on YouTube showing these stretches and more in action.

There are many more options for ways to stretch these areas, so please do get in touch if you’d like some specific assistance.

Working from home – Desk set up and looking after your body!

Posted by admin on April 13, 2020
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With so many people now working from home, what can we all do to take care of our bodies at this time?

Desk Set Up – Whether in the office or at home this is always important, but not always set up ideally! Let’s look at each component:

  • Desk – Where possible work from a desk or dining table, so you can get things set up at about the right height. Ideally your elbows should be at 90 degrees or more, when they rest on the table.  Don’t work from a coffee table, while sitting on the sofa – your back, neck and hips will not love this!
  • Seat – If you don’t have an adjustable office chair, then a proper dining chair would be better than a soft low chair.  Use a cushion or rolled up towel placed at the small of your back, so you feel supported. You want hips and knees to be roughly 90 degrees so you may need a cushion to sit on if you are too low. Feet flat on the floor is best for the alignment of your joints.  Avoid crossed legs or sitting on one foot!
  • Computer – If you are working on a desktop, set it so the top of the screen is level or slightly lower than your eyes.  The same should apply to a laptop, therefore you will need to raise it up off the table! You can improvise with blocks of wood or books if you don’t have a laptop stand (as pictured), just be aware of the machine getting overheated! You’ll need a separate keyboard and mouse.  I highly recommend this set up when using a laptop long term.  The full-sized keyboard gives your arms, hands and wrists more space, so you are far less likely to experience overuse issues.
  • Variation – Try working standing up with the laptop set up on a breakfast bar or sideboard.  Try sitting on different seats, a stool for short times or even an exercise ball.

Taking Care of your Body:

  • Take a Break – Crucial whether at home or in the office, regularly get up, walk around, stretch, peg the washing on the line, dance around the kitchen while the kettle boils, whatever you like.  This really will help your body remain mobile during the workday.  Set a 30min timer or obey your watch when it tells you to move.
  • Keep Hydrated – ever important for body and mind, have water or fruit teas on hand. Try to avoid chain drinking coffee and tea!
  • Exercise – try to build exercise into your workday, maybe starting the day with a run or walk and finishing it with an online exercise class or yoga.  This will help keep the blood flowing, muscles warm and supple and your mood elevated.  You’ll probably find you have more energy than you expect as you’re not commuting to the office and back!
  • Stretch – The main areas to focus on are the neck, chest and arms, upper and lower back, quads and hip flexors. These are the areas which will become short and tight during the seated posture.  Yoga can be helpful for addressing these areas and there are many local instructors running online classes.

Part Two of this blog will cover how to stretch and self-treat these areas and is coming very soon…!

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How to stay well & injury free while social distancing or self isolating!

Posted by admin on March 22, 2020
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A few tips on how to take care of your body during these difficult times…

Happy Mind = Happy Body:

These two are so linked.  Calm the mind down and the body relaxes too.  The less muscular tension and the better your mental focus the less likely you are to injure yourself. If you’ve never tried meditation before perhaps take this opportunity to give it a go. I love Headspace, but there are other apps, such as Calm, Buddhify and Breethe.  Five or ten minutes a day and you may find something which will help you manage your stress long term.

Warm Up:

This one’s always a good idea.  Start with a walk and gradually increase before running.  If your staying home can you pace the corridors, march up and down the stairs several times, do step ups, dance like no-one is watching! Whatever it takes to raise your heard rate, warm your muscles and increase blood flow.  Some movement of the joints and gentle stretches are good to.

Choose Appropriate Activity – or don’t run before you can walk!:

Insanity workouts and Ashtanga Yoga are not for everyone.  Ideally start with an activity you are familiar with. Or if you’re trying something new find a beginner’s version – remember there’ll be no judgement within your own home, so it’s best to start too easy and build up.  And don’t forget walking has proven health benefits, so don’t discount it.

Gradually Increase Exercise:

If you’ve not donned those running trainers for an age, please don’t head out and run ten miles!  Your body will not like it!  A sensible rule is to build by no more than 10% duration each session.  Or if you are new to running check out the Couch to 5k app.

Have Rest Days:

Even if you are stuck indoors, taking the odd easier day will prevent you from overloading your body, especially if you are doing an exercise type which you are not used to.  Above all listen to your body!

Stretch:

How many of you have said the words ‘I don’t have time for stretching’!  Well, now you probably do!  Loads of resources online, but if you’re a beginner check out JoeTherapy on YouTube.  He also shows you how to use a foam roller.  If you fancy trying yoga, check out Yoga with Adriene or the Runners World yoga centre – both excellent.

Strength & Conditioning:

Again, If I’ve asked you how you got on with your strengthening exercises and you’ve answered with an awkward grimace or ‘I have to be honest I’ve not done them’!  Then now could be your chance.  Dig out your homecare email from me, your physio, osteo or personal trainer and go for it!  Or contact me if you’d like me to send you some suggestions.

Eat Well:

Eating well will make so much difference to your mood and motivation levels. A balanced diet of protein, fats, carbohydrates and a rainbow of coloured fruit and veg, will improve your bodies ability to repair and recover after exercise.  Perhaps make a food plan to help keep you from mindlessly munching!

Drink Well:

I’m talking water and not booze and caffeine – sorry!  Although a little of these is fine (and I think we all need some right now! ), keeping hydrated will help all the systems in your body to function well.  Your temperature, kidney function, circulation, blood pressure, digestion, joint lubrication and skin condition are all effected by lack of water.

Sleep Lots:

Surely one of the most neglected factors.  Our busy lifestyles often don’t allow for a good nights sleep.  Our bodies do so much repairing while we sleep, so getting enough will leave you feeling refreshed and ready for another days activities.

If you do get an injury or niggle, get in touch and I will try to help.  Stay tuned for tips on self-treatment coming soon…!

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How to clean and dry your trainers!

Posted by admin on February 08, 2017
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Just back from a long run with my lovely training group!  Very wet and a bit muddy so here’s a few tips on how to get your trainers sparkling and ready to run again.

I simply scrub my trainers with a big brush and water in the shower, rinse them well and let them drip off a while.  You could use some washing up liquid if you like your trainers to smell lovely.  Those lucky enough to have an outside tap could do this outside to avoid bringing muddy trainers into the house.  Never put them in the washing machine! It will result in damage long term.  Alternatively cycle home from your run through all the big puddles and they self-clean!

The best way I’ve found to dry my trainers is to stuff them really full of newspaper.  I have a dehumidifier so mine will sit in front of it for the rest of the day before removing the newspaper.  Alternatively place the trainers near, but not directly on a heat source; radiator, night storage heater, wood burner, open fire, sunny window sill? Whatever you have.  For super quick drying re-stuff with more paper.

Your trainers soon be ready to hit the road or field again.

Happy Running x

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It’s Taper Time….!

Posted by admin on April 06, 2015
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Why and How to taper for your Marathon race.

Tapering is the gradual decrease in training intensity and duration with should start after your last long run.  For most people this is three weeks prior to race day. Full taper kicks in with one week to go.  The purpose of tapering is to allow your body to recovery from hard training.  The muscle fibres need time to fully repair the micro trauma which training causes.  This takes time, but with rest, stretching, gentle running, sleep, good food and hydration you’ll arrive on the start time with energy loaded muscles, feeling fresh, ready and raring to go!

Top Taper Tips:

  1. Rest – you’ll probably feel like you ‘should’ be running, but training effects take around three weeks to appear in your body so it’s too late for tough, long, hilly runs! Just stick to short sessions which keep your legs ticking over.
  2. Bank Sleep – you’re a lucky one if you can get quality sleep the night before race day, so try getting to bed a little earlier every night in the week before.
  3. Hydrate – Keep yourself topped up with water. It’s essential for improving muscle condition and especially important in the final 48hours, as it will help prevent you dehydrating during the race.
  4. Carb Load – try to keep eating well during your taper period.  The last 24 hours is the time to add small amounts of extra carbohydrates to each meal and snack in order to insure you have maximum stored energy in your muscles.
  5. Stay calm – Employ stress reduction techniques such as gentle walking, swimming, meditation, yoga (if you are used to it!), visualization and hot baths to help keep body and mind calm.
  6. Have a Massage – I would say that wouldn’t I?! – But having run two marathons I can honestly say my pre race massage calmed my mind, relaxed my tight muscles and left me feeling positive and focused.
  7. Don’t get injured! – leave trying that extreme sport you’ve always wanted to have a go at until after the race!  Just take care and be sensible about the activities you get involved in.
  8. Keep Positive – rid your mind of those negative thoughts, focus on the positive ones and surround yourself with like-minded people.
  9. Final 24hours – Change nothing!  Eat the same as you’ve eaten before long runs in training.  Keep to your normal pre long run routine. Even put your trainers on in the normal order if that makes you feel good!
  10. Race Day – Focus on YOU and what you need to eat, wear, drink and do to get to the start line ready to RUN!

And remember to enjoy the incredible experience that is running 26.2miles!

Sports Massage for Runners

Posted by admin on March 17, 2015
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The What, Why and When of sports massage for runners.

What is Sports Massage?
Sports massage is a combination of basic and advanced massage techniques applied to a sports person in order to support and enhance their performance. Some sports massage therapists can include additional techniques such as medical acupuncture, taping and injury assessment. Each treatment is tailored to the individual, how they are feeling and with a purpose in mind. Techniques also vary depending on when the next training session will take place and how intense it will be.

Why Have Sports Massage?
For runners sports massage provides three main benefits; Recovery, Injury Prevention and Psychological Boost.
After a tough or long run sports massage will help you to recover faster. It will stimulate blood flow, support your body’s own healing process and prevent or reduce delayed onset muscle soreness. You will leave ache free, with full movement and ready to tackle your next training session.
Injury can be prevented by monitoring muscular condition. A sports massage therapist will identify areas of tension with their hands and apply techniques to reduce this and lessen the chances of injury. Your body awareness will improve and you will be encouraged to stretch certain areas at home. Those annoying little niggles need not become full-on injuries!
Runners find sports massage provides them with a quiet time to reflect, consider and take stock of how their training is going and how they are feeling. This provides a psychological boost particularly when training is tough or in the week before a race, when keeping the mind and body relaxed is vital.

When to have Sports Massage
Sports massage can be adapted for use before or after training and racing. Many runners have their treatments after their long run and on a rest day so that the massage can be deeper and assist recovery. But a less intense treatment can be delivered as close to the day before a race.
After a race sports massage is applied lightly and more rapidly, in order to stimulate circulation, relax, reduce tension and restore movement. You will leave with less soreness and stairs will no longer be a daunting task!

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New Techniques

Posted by admin on January 30, 2015
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I recently attended a weekend course in Advanced Medical Acupuncture.  I learned some amazing new techniques which can be combined with sports massage to enhance the effectiveness of your treatment.

So far great results have been seen for patients with tennis elbow, low back pain, calf tension, shoulder issues and upper trap pain.  Other issues which respond well to these advanced techniques are joint pain (including arthritis), upper back tension, jaw pain, hand tension and even sinus blockage!

Medical Acupuncture is used as part of your sports massage treatment with your full understanding & consent.

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Welcome to the Rhomboids Blog

Posted by admin on December 12, 2011
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Here I aim to provide information about all things sports massage and update you with all the latest news.
If there is something you would like to hear more about please do get in touch and make a suggestion.