The twelve days are not up yet, so technically we are still in the Christmas period and that means we are still allowed corny seasonal titles 😀!
What I really want to talk about here is 'Health and Fitness'. Many people will be planning to get Fit and Healthy in the new year so let's just take a quick look at what that means. Although Health and Fitness are frequently partnered together as a phrase, they are in fact two very different things🤔.
You can for example, be perfectly capable of running a marathon but also have high blood pressure, be diabetic and have a pace maker! This hypothetical person is not 'healthy' but they are fit! Now, why don't we take that and apply it to something a little more common place. You can run a marathon but are quite over weight...fit but not healthy!
It works the other way too: You are the perfect weight, great blood pressure, low cholesterol, but are involved in no sport or physical activity.....bet you can't run a marathon!.... Healthy but not fit!
See how it works!
Of course what we really want to be is both fit and health and getting fit often results in health conditions improving, which is why they are usually partnered together. Exercise is great at lowering cholesterol and blood pressure, protecting the heart, weight loss and exercise can help the body control blood sugar and insulin levels 🤗.
So actually why am making a song and dance about the difference? Well, two reasons: Firstly, I think it's important to realise that because you may be one, it does not automatically mean you are the other and that can be really helping you identify what your health and fitness goals should be
Secondly, there is another kind of 'unhealthy', not just the type of physiological issues we have already talked about. Most sporting people who visit us at The Reinge Clinic are really quite fit but their muscle tone and balance are anything but healthy, which is why they have come to see us with muscle strains, back pain, neck pain, shoulder pain and so many others. These imbalances creep in for many reasons, but are often related to work related postures and movements, as well as sports equipment set up and technique. This of course is what we specialise in at The Reinge Clinic; using our biomechanical backgrounds to identify those, less than obvious obvious, tiny little things that can quietly add up over time to result in pain and injury.
So, we have a little homework for you. If you are nice and 'fit' or are planing to get fit, then have a self check of how healthy your muscle balance or tone actually is. Because if it's uneven, sooner or later something is going to go wrong and I think that's its a shame. When someone is giving their best shot at getting fit and healthy but end up injuring themselves in the process it is very disheartening ☹️.
So, try these simple tests and observations 👉
Runners🏋️: Check your shoe tread, is it more worn on one shoe than the other? If this is the case you have an imbalance somewhere and are favouring or overcorrecting through one side.
Cyclists 🚴: have a look at your saddle, is it evenly worn / logos rubbing off on the left and right sides. If it's uneven you have an imbalance and are over working one side. Do the same with your bar tape and brake hoods. Check your shorts too, uneven wear will show up here well before it shows in the saddle.
Gym folk 🏋️: get on the leg extension/leg curl machine and use only one leg, then try the other. Can you lift the same weight with the same amount of effort? The answer should be yes but for most of us we favour one side and that's not good in the long term.
Everyone😀: can you reach over your head with one hand, and behind your back with the other hand? Try to touch your finger tips together?....Yes? Can you do it with both arms? Well done, that's the natural (not extra) range of motion that should be available in the shoulder girdle.
Can you sit with both legs straight out in front of you and reach forward to touch your toes. Yes? Well done that's the natural range of motion for the calfs, Hamstrings, Gluteals and your back. Yep they all work together. Please don't try this one standing. If you cant reach your toes it will put some nasty forces through your spine, hence the sitting.
I hope you have found this useful and thought provoking, Of course if you do find you have an imbalance going on, the best piece of advice anyone can give is don't leave it until it goes wrong.
Wishing you all a Happy New Year🕺😀.