I’m Roshan-Ara, a personal trainer specialising in coaching techniques to help you improve mobility and run faster. This is an introduction to exercising efficiently, retaining the benefits and remaining ache free.
When I heard we are allowed to go out once a day for exercise during this lockdown, I immediately committed to myself that I would go for a run or do an outdoor high intensity interval workout early in the morning (fewer people around), setting me up for my day inside my small flat. Well I learned very quickly that the best plans have loopholes, as by the end of the day my legs were stiff and heavy when I went out the next morning, even though I was doing my warm up and stretch down routines. This has not happened to me before.
I did some digging, starting with looking at what I was doing differently….. and there it was, I was sitting for much longer periods of time i.e. easily 3-4 hours at a time (at my dining table) or 7 hours (on a sofa) on my lazy Sunday. Sound familiar? Then some of my clients who I am training online started saying the same things, especially those who I train early in the morning or around 6pm in the evening.
Now I do know that the best way to deal with aching muscles is to keep moving, am sure you probably know that too. However, I was reminded that sitting still for long periods does not only make you ache more, it actually has an impact on your long term health e.g.
- It raises your risk of medical conditions including heart disease, diabetes, DVT, Osteoporosis …. to name a few.
- It puts huge stress on your back muscles, neck, and spine. Your glute, abdominal and leg muscles lay dormant and can degenerate; hip flexor muscles shorten, leading to issues with hip joints; affecting your overall posture and how you walk.
- Your lungs produce less oxygen. While seated, your lungs have less space to expand, no longer providing a healthy amount of oxygen to the rest of your body and important for recovery.
- Your circulation slows down, the blood flow to your brain and legs becomes sluggish increasing the risk of blood clots and your legs feel heavy (this used to happen to me a lot).
- Your bones will become brittle, especially the older you are. We forget (at least I did, as I am sometimes a little too focused on heart rate and muscle) that bone is live tissue constantly in a state of forming new bone material and absorbing the old bone material. As we age the rate that bone is reabsorbed is faster than new bone is formed. Like muscles, bones become stronger when they are used.
- Even if you work out 7 hours a week – you will reverse all that hard work at the gym by hitting the couch for the rest of the day, as your muscles will “go back to sleep”
I recently trained a medical student. She started running to keep fit but soon stopped after developing a pain in her hip. The movement analysis revealed weakness in her shoulder, glute and hip muscles. The root causes for these issues were the long hours spent studying while crouched over her desk. The poor posture she had adopted in that sitting position translated into the way she walked e.g. walking with a forward lean (anterior tilt of hip). With coaching to correct these, she is now running pain free and building up to doing 5km/10km runs.
Not everyone runs, but we all walk and we all want to be mobile for basic reasons e.g. gardening, going to the supermarket or playing with kids. You don’t have to go to the gym and even if you do go to the gym there are simple things we can do to keep moving and give our bones and muscles the attention they need, especially during lockdown e.g.
- Stand up and stretch every 30 minutes.
- Touch your toes – seated or standing.
- Stand more, get a desk that raises or make your own by setting your computer on top of a box or some books.
- Do 20 walking shuttles in your hallway or garden or march on the spot, use a chair or wall for support when needed.
- If you can’t squat – do chair sits (standing up from a chair & then sitting down again). It is important that you plant your feet firmly on the ground and push through your heels to stand up, and when you sit make sure you bend from the hip first.
If this sounds familiar to you and you would like to learn more, I am offering free 30 minute online consultations throughout lockdown. Please contact me via my website at www.trainrightforyou.com.
Contact details: M – 07743 846 592, Email – [email protected]