Meditation has been around for centuries but as it becomes more mainstream, even more of us are turning to meditation and mindfulness as a way of coping with every day stresses and pressures.
In a world where we are addicted to technology and always being busy, meditation comes as a welcome relief. Most know it as a way to stop, slow down and think, but studies have shown that as well as having heaps of psychological benefits, meditation can also have a physical impact on us, too.
As meditation and mindfulness grows in popularity, we take a look at how meditation can help with physical pain relief.
What is Meditation?
Meditation is a practice where a person gets a sense of perspective and awareness. It’s a technique that encourages the unconscious mind and helps you find a deep concentration, calmness and clarity; it’s the ability to be present and engaged.
How Can Meditation Help with Chronic Pain?
Meditation can help your overall mood and make your pain less noticeable. Because of this, as you continue to meditate, the way you handle your discomfort and tolerate the pain will change. Meditation can also help relax muscles, which can alleviate further discomfort in the joints and muscle groups.
The more you practice, the more you’ll rely on meditation as a coping mechanism for your pain; you’ll also notice improvements in your sleep (which can also help you manage pain), concentration and memory – not directly impacting your pain management, but certainly a bonus. What’s most important to note is that those that participate in regular meditation have cited that they became happier and saw an increase in their quality of life. So it’s worth trying it, if that’s the potential outcome!
It’s thought that meditation specifically helps with pain by increasing the compound nitric oxide from increased relaxation. This is what causes the blood vessels to open up and subsequently encourages blood flow, which therefore reduces blood pressure. In fact, studies have shown that mindfulness can reduce chronic pain by 57%. Studies also found that meditation soothes brain patterns which can impact underlying pain.
A big part of meditation practice is about acknowledging discomfort in the body, be that physical or emotional, and observing the sensations to allow you to breathe through and deal with the uneasiness – and this is what also plays a big part in managing your pain with meditation. You simply learn to breath through it to the point that you no longer notice it. And if you don’t notice it, is it even there?
So, it’s time to get rid of the painkillers and focus on some healthy alternatives to managing your pain that has longevity, rather than long-lasting detriments to your health like pills.
Benefits of Meditation
The benefits of meditation are vast and it can not only calm your mind, ground you, help you deal with day-to-day pressures and alleviate stress, it can also help you identify physical pain and help you manage it.
The main benefits include:
- Reduced stress and anxiety
- Improved cardiovascular health
- Improved immunity
- Improved aging
- Improved concentration
- Increased happiness
- Improved quality of life
- Increased self-awareness and acceptance
How to Meditate
Meditation is unique to you and is not as easy as it sounds on paper. However, if you’re looking to give it a go, here are some tips to get you started.
- Find a quiet space
- Close your eyes
- Slow, deep breathing
- Notice the sounds around you
- Focus on your breath
- Slow body stretching
- Body scan
If you’re struggling to do this alone, there are loads of guided meditations available online. If you search specifically for pain relief meditation, you can find videos more targeted to your needs.
For more top tips, help and advice. Visit our blog, we chat about everything from sports massage to fitness.
Every exercise regime needs an element of cardiovascular training, even if you’re a diehard strength training addict! Cardio exercise works the heart and lungs, strengthens bones and gives you speed and endurance. But which type is best?
If you saw our blog: ‘Why Walking is Better than Running’, you’ll know that we delved into both types of exercise and evaluated the pros and cons of both. Now, we’re putting cycling against running to see which comes out on top.
Running and cycling are both very popular and effective forms of cardio – so let’s weigh up their relative benefits. Firstly, both are aerobic, rhythmic and involve most of the muscles in the body, meaning that you’ll be enjoying a full body workout as you train.
However, there are differences which are worth considering. On the basis of calories per minute, running generally burns more calories than cycling does – although this differential depends hugely on how fast you perform either exercise. A speed cyclist can burn as many calories cycling as a moderate runner for example, and both can get into the magic ‘HIT’ (high-intensity zone), where the body burns fat for several hours after training.
Does Running or Cycling Burn More Calories?
The American College of Sports Medicine has calculated that an individual weighing 150 pounds and running a seven-minute mile (brisk!) will burn around 1,000 calories every hour. If the same individual cycles at a steady pace of 16-19 mph, the calorie burn will be 850. As a comparison, the equivalent walking activity at 4mph would burn around 360 per hour. Winner – running.
There are other advantages to the strenuous activity too. High effort running and cycling alike can have appetite-dulling effects, albeit on a temporary basis. Studies suggest that high-intensity exercise inhibits the release of ghrelin, which is a hunger-stimulating hormone. Winner – both activities.
Also known as fat burning and muscle building! The good news is that both running and cycling can greatly help to burn fat, but again, it depends on your intensity. Both target the lower body which will develop great calf muscles, glutes and quads. Running will also work your arms and both will work your core. Slow and steady can be useful for a higher proportion of fat burning, but short and sharp HIT sessions will get your hormones, cardio and fat burning systems into max efficiency and will burn fat for hours after you finish training. Think sprints or intervals – both of which can be more enjoyable than long, steady-state sessions. Winner – both activities.
Taking Injury into Account
Yes, heading out for a run does burn slightly more calories and fat, but it is also associated with more injuries than cycling. Runners can end up with damaged ankles, inflamed tendons and runner’s knee – especially if they run too fast and too far at the start. Biking is weight-bearing, so it supports the joints and knees and helps to minimise muscle soreness. If you do want to run, then build up to it slowly and ideally get some coaching to check your gait and to nip any pronation issues in the bud. For cyclists, read the highway code and avoid taking corners too fast in bad weather! Winner – cycling.
Considering Social Aspects
Even if you like to run and cycle alone, the social element of both activities does give you an additional option to enjoy community, fitness events, social exercise and motivation from like-minded enthusiasts. You’ll probably get better results too, as it’s far harder to dodge a session when your training buddies are waiting on you. Consider signing up to a running group or cycling club, find online groups and forums and immerse yourself in the culture of the sport to really get the most of it. You can then train for a race if you fancy the competitive aspect and really see your fitness escalate! These activities both offer fantastic potential for community, social activities and new friends with the same goals. Winner – both.
Which is Better?
Ultimately, the best type of exercise is the one that you enjoy most and are most likely to stick to. Both will increase your capacity for aerobic fitness, which will boost your resistance to chronic disease and help you to enjoy a healthier, longer life. A good starting point is to assess whether you have an injury, a strong preference…and a bike! If you can potentially carry out running and cycling equally well and without any risk to joints or existing injuries, then why not mix it up? A good exercise regime will have a mix of high, medium and low-intensity exercise, strength training and flexibility. So mix up your sprint training with a steady run and enjoy a leisurely weekend jog. If you have a bike, get out for some interval training, do a long-cross country bike hike on another day or attend a spinning class. The more varied your training approach, the better results you’ll enjoy and the more fun you’ll have in the process!
Nowadays it’s not unlikely if you’ve got a few aches and pains in your body; the society we live in sees us crouched over desks, phones and tablets and even though we’re living longer, we’re aging quicker.
With that in mind it comes as no surprise that our bodies are struggling, especially considering most of us are leading inactive lifestyles. Regular sports massage, therapy and rehabilitation can help combat the systematic gripes your joints and muscles may give you, but with so many recovery options out there, how do you know what is best for your body?
What’s the difference between a deep tissue massage and a sports massage?
On the surface, they sound like the same thing, but there are some differences between the two depending on what your troubles are. Let’s explore:
What’s a Deep Tissue Massage?
Deep tissue massage boasts many benefits: improving posture, alleviating painful and tight muscles and helping you to recover from injury.
There any many skilled techniques that are used in deep tissue massage, and these techniques are applied using different levels of compression to the body using the forearm, elbow, thumbs and knuckles to exert more pressure.
The intensity of the pressure alters throughout the treatment, sometimes you’ll feel a movement that mimics kneading bread, this is to improve the blood flow, then there’s rapid, rhythmic moving or slow and intense pressure. You’ll probably experience a range of emotions during this treatment, too. Take it from us, you will get through the discomfort. No pain, no gain and whatnot.
During this treatment, your therapist will check that the pressure and intensity is okay. If it gets a little too much for you, breathe deeply through the discomfort, but if it gets way too much, just let your therapist known and they will ease up. They work at a slow and steady pace and your health and comfort is at the top of the list of priorities.
What’s a Sports Massage?
Sports massages take a similar approach, but they’re usually used for preventing and treating injury and/or enhancing physical performance. As with deep tissue massages, these types of high-pressure massages can encourage the muscles to dissipate and rid the lactic acid build up.
You’ll usually find that sports massages are most effective pre- or post-workout. So, if you’ve just run a marathon, the chances of needing some rehabilitation in the form of a massage are high. Some sportsmen and women also get a massage before a big event to get the blood flowing, muscles warmed up, and the body ready for the impending exercise.
You don’t have to be an athlete or a gym rat to get a sports massage – they are ideal for anyone that’s physically active. So whether you’re training for a marathon, preparing for a bodybuilding competition or doing light to moderate exercise, sports massages can help with muscle recovery, and prevention of injury.
Which is Better: Sports Massage or Deep Tissue Massage?
Neither are relaxing; these are definitely not the types of massages that you’d get on a spa day. Which is better for you is definitely down to personal preference, but if you’re active, it’s probably best to go down the sports massage route, whereas, if you’re struggling with muscle and joint pain, opt for deep tissue massages.
How to Book in for a Sports Massage or Deep Tissue Massage?
If you’ve got a niggle in your joint or muscles and are looking for an alternative to taking medication, try a regular session with a recovery therapist to help you mend from a sports injury, recover from chronic pain, improve posture and prevent further problems.
If you’re still confused, get in touch with our expert team of highly-qualified therapists, who can advise you on the next steps.
If you’re a slave to the treadmill and hate pounding the pavements to get your cardio in the form of running then you will be over the moon to hear that walking can be just as effective as running.
Research by the American Heart Association’s Journal of Arteriosclerosis, Thrombosis and Vascular Biology shows that ‘equivalent energy expenditures by moderate walking and vigorous running exercise produced similar risk reductions for hypertension, hypercholesterolemia, diabetes, mellitus, and possibly CHD.’
That’s basically saying that brisk walking saw the same physical benefits as running. Considering an estimated 48,000 people have osteoporosis of the knee and 64% of adults are classed as overweight or obese, it’s easy to see why the nation would favour a workout with lesser impact on the body.
What are the Benefits of Walking?
Multiple studies have found that running’s slow-paced cousin, walking, is just as good for relieving stress, reducing cholesterol, heart disease and diabetes; as well as not giving you joint pain and the pesky runner’s knee, walking helps strengthen your bones, unlike running that can cause osteoporosis.
Walking also boasts improvement of balance and coordination, can help you to maintain a healthy weight and improve posture.
Other studies have found that speed walking decreases the risk of mortality and increase the quality of your sleep. So it’s not just about hitting your step count at the end of the day, walking is a powerful exercise that you should be using more.
In addition to improving physical fitness, walking (be it at a brisk pace or gentle stroll) also has many psychological benefits:
How Walking Helps the Mind
Arguably, any form of exercise and moving your body helps to combat stress, boost your energy and improve your overall mood but walking helps instil a sense of calm in your body while you work out, helping you to find and maintain a more relaxed state. This is particularly helpful if you live a stressful life as walking can help to adjust the nervous system; opt for a 45-minute walk after work, rather than reaching for a glass of wine to take the edge off. (We know, sometimes the wine will win but bear with us!)
Not to mention, walking is way more social than running. And if the weather is good, well you’ve boosted your workout even more as exercising outdoors can revitalise you, helping to increase your energy and mood even more, as well as blasting off those cobwebs.
How Walking Burns Fat
Whilst in theory, running exerts more energy, it’s actually quite stressful for your body and heart. And, unless your keeping your heart rate in its optimum fat burning zone, you’re not actually getting the best work out for you.
Walking burns a lot more calories that you realise too. Though if you’re using walking as your main source of exercise, perhaps add some weights – such as ankle weights or a weighted vest – to increase the metabolic costs and overall intensity.
If you’re getting your walk in on the treadmill, increase the incline and this will see your overall workout intensity increase, and oh will you feel it in those glutes.
If your long-term health goal is to improve your overall health, and to create an active lifestyle that has longevity, then walking is for you.
Essentially in terms of wear and tear on your body, you’re actually better off walking. Phew! So grab your Fitbit and get earning that step count!
In our last blog, we spoke about the importance of warming up to avoid injury. Now, we’re going to talk you through why it’s important to cool down after you exercise – and some people would argue that stretching after a workout is the most important thing you can do.
If you workout a lot, chances are you’ve experienced sore muscles, aches and pains, and delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS) from time to time. Though, if you bolt out of the gym quickly after your workout, you’re not stretching after your session and this can lead to more painful DOMS.
Why You Should Cool Down After Exercise
It’s really important to have a thorough cool down session and whilst a nice warm shower after the gym is a good way to soothe aching muscles, it’s just not going to cut it as a long-term strategy.
Here’s why you need to stretch post-exercise:
You may not know this but slowing your body down and sinking into some deep stretches boasts both physiological and psychological benefits.
The psychological benefits would be getting to know your body and its aches and twinges, and understanding the way your muscles work and the types of stretches you need to do.
But here’s the science bit: your muscles will experience a buildup of lactic acid when you work out, it’s this that causes the soreness and fatigue in the body. As well as that, your muscles are put through numerous moves that cause them to expand and contract quickly meaning they are usually left in what’s known as a shortened state – stretching can loosen this up and essentially extend the muscle, comparatively to when it’s contracted.
Stretching when your muscles are warm (and they will be from your gym session) also helps to increase the blood circulation. This will aid your muscles to recover faster so you can go hard in your next workout quicker than if you skip this all together.
Finally, stretching and cooling down properly is good for injury prevention, which we are obviously all for.
The Most Effective Way to Cool Down
If you’re strapped for time and are looking to have an effective cool down to go with your effective workout, then there are some key stretches that you can do to avoid injury and increased muscle soreness, without keeping you in the gym for much longer.
If you’ve worked on a particular muscle group, for example legs, then you can focus on the key muscles that are used – as well as the hip flexors and lower back – and you will reap the rewards of stretching. The same goes for if you just do an upper body workout; stretch the areas you have used.
However, it’s a good idea to dedicate some time to full body stretches as you use more muscles in any compound movement than you think. Speaking of full body, if you’ve done a full-body workout, you really will need to spend some time stretching all of your muscles so you don’t seize up – so hit that mat for between 15 and 30 minutes to ensure optimum recovery.
Techniques for Deep Stretches
We’ve touched on a few of the benefits of stretching here but one thing to bear in mind is that stretching will help you reduce your overall recovery time and prevent unnecessary injury.
Concentrate when you stretch, particularly if you’re holding a pose in weak areas or areas that are prone to injury – for example the knee or hip flexor. If you feel a pain then you need to stop the stretch immediately. If you experience this, the best thing to do is to rest, apply ice and compression and elevate the body part – also known as the RICE method.
It’s important to hold your stretch for up to a minute to gain the benefits, this can also help you push through the soreness from your workout.
If you invest time into a proper rehabilitation routine, you will also see a reduction in your overall aches and pains and an increase in your posture so it’s definitely worth your while to find an extra 10 – 15 minutes a session to warm your body up.
Above all, don’t forget to breathe.
If you’re a regular gym goer, you’ll know the importance of warming up and cooling down and if the gym isn’t your regular haunt, you’ve probably still heard of this old adage. But, statistics show that even though we know we should be doing a quick pre- and post-workout session, not many of us are actually dedicating anytime to it.
Why You Should Warm Up Before Exercise
The preparation for a workout is sometimes just as important as the workout itself and here’s why:
Stretching and warming up the muscles before a workout aids muscle mobility and helps your flexibility – both of which help increase your performance. So, if you’re prone to skipping your warm up, you could find yourself increasing the probability of injury, such as tearing a muscle. And no one wants that.
The Best Ways to Warm Up Quickly
If you’re limited with time, the quickest way to warm up is to do some short, sharp moves that target a wide range of muscle groups, including the main muscles such as your quads, back and core but also pay particular attention to your glutes and hips – these are pivotal to most exercise moves but regularly get forgotten about; warm these up and you’ll have a much better workout.
For a quick way to warm up you can hit the rowing machine, pound the treadmill or jump on the elliptical for 10 minutes; alternatively, you can do some mobility moves to heat those muscles up and increase your range of movement ahead of your session.
By stretching out your tight muscles, you’ll increase the blood flow to your muscles which assists in preventing soreness and speeds up your overall recovery process. This is also true for post workout, but we’ll come onto that in another blog.
As we focus on pre-workout warm-up moves, here are some of our favourite warm up techniques to activate your muscles:
Lunge with a twist – this dynamic stretching move activates a few muscles at once, from your back through your hip flexors down to your leg.
Skipping – skipping with a rope is an incredible way to warm up the body; it gets the blood pumping, heart rate increasing and the body temperature (and therefore muscles) warm.
Ankle rotations – often forgotten about, the ankles are prone to injury as they’re not warmed up or strengthened enough. Take time to rotate the ankles to get them going ahead of a workout. For more information on how to strengthen your ankles, check out our blog.
Pigeon stretch – we talk about this in our blog The 7 Best Hip Flexor Stretches because it is an awesome stretch. It gets deep into the hip flexor and is definitely an area that you want to avoid injuring so look after it as much as you can.
Jumping Jacks – the classic move that will elevate your heart rate and get the key muscle groups warmed up, jumping jacks (or star jumps) are a simple but effective way to warm up.
Techniques for Deep Stretches
You’ve heard that form is important with exercise, well that saying is just as significant when it comes to stretching. You need to pay attention to your pre (or post) workout stretches and ensure you’re not over expanding the muscle tissue; if you feel any pain, twinge or discomfort when stretching, it’s best to stop. There’s one thing breathing into a deep stretch through DOMs, but you know your body and if something doesn’t feel right, it’s better the air on the side of caution and stop what you’re doing.
If you feel comfortable, it’s best to hold the stretch for up to a minute before moving onto the next; take deep breaths throughout and focus your attention on something else to help moderate the feeling – or to keep your balance, depending on what stretch you’re doing.
Benefits from Stretching
You’ll quickly be reaping the rewards of warming up properly as your workouts are performed at optimum level, your recovery time is reduced, you’ll avoid injury and increase mobility and flexibility.
If you invest time into a proper rehabilitation routine, you will also see a reduction in your overall aches and pains and an increase in your posture so it’s definitely worth your while to find an extra 10 – 15 minutes a session to warm your body up.
The Pelvis is a bony body structure that joins the upper end of your legs to the base of your spine. A healthy pelvis and hip are important for stability, movement, and posture. Most of the power displayed by athletes is generated by the hip; activities like sprinting, deadlifting and jumping cannot be achieved without a strong hip. It’s therefore important to be vigilant about any potential condition that might harm or deform your pelvis. One such potential deformity is the Pelvis tilt.
What is a Pelvic Tilt?
Pelvic tilt is an imbalance in the pelvis orientation in relation to the pelvic bones and the rest of the body. The pelvis is attached to several muscles in the legs and back, including the hip extensors and hip flexors. Hip flexors are the muscles located in front legs and their primary function is to lift the leg upwards; they include iliac muscle, psoas muscle, Sartorius and the quadriceps. The hip extensors move the thigh from a flexed position, to align it with the pelvis. The main hip extensors are the hamstrings and the gluteus maximus (the buttocks).
The above-named muscles place some pressure and strain on your pelvis even when you’re not using them, which lead to a slight but constant tugging. In an ideal situation, there should be some sort of equilibrium between the pressure and forces coming from both sides, in which case, the back, and the pelvis are able to remain perfectly aligned. Unfortunately, it’s quite common for people to experience some imbalances in these muscles, which eventually causes pelvic tilting. The pelvis can tilt backward, towards the front or to either side of the body.
Types of pelvic tilts
There are basically three types of pelvic tilts; anterior pelvic tilt, posterior pelvic tilt and lateral pelvic tilt.
1. Anterior Tilt
Anterior Tilt is characterized by the pelvis slightly pointing downwards and the back rising upwards. This often results in protruding buttocks, an exaggerated curve at the bottom of the spine, a slight paunch, a protruding stomach and a decrease in height. The upper body may also round up a little to balance the body which leaves the head jutting forward and shoulders stooped.
Anterior Pelvic tilt is commonly caused by an imbalance in the legs, hips, buttocks, back and stomach muscles in terms of flexibility, strength, and length which cause the pelvis to be pulled more to a certain direction than the other. People with this condition generally have tight, shortened quadriceps, psoas muscles, and erector spinae muscles. An imbalance in these muscles can be caused by both a sedentary and athletic lifestyle. Those who spend too much time sitting can develop muscle imbalances since the sitting position weakens the gluteal muscles and shortens the psoas. People who workout in an imbalance or uneven postures for long can also develop muscles imbalances.
Anterior pelvic if not addressed in good time can potentially lead to hip pain as a result of the rotated femurs, lower back pain, knee pain as a result of the knock-knee position and flat feet. You’re also at risk of developing shoulder pain, headaches, and neck pain. Generally, you may feel pain in any muscles that contribute to anterior pelvic tilt. Tight and strained muscles are likely to develop trigger points called knots.
2. Posterior Tilt
Posterior Pelvic tilt is when the back of the pelvis lowers and the front of the pelvis rises. This results from the lengthening of the hip flexors and the shortening of the hip extensors, particularly the gluteus maximus. Tight hamstrings and abdominal muscles, as well as weak psoas, quadriceps, and lower back muscles can also contribute to posterior Pelvic tilt. Habits such as slouching in the chair, slumping over a table or desk can distort your spine and result into the Posterior Pelvic tilt.
Posterior pelvic tilt isn’t as common as the anterior pelvic tilt. Those at risk of developing posterior pelvic tilt are commonly gym-goers who focus too much on their hamstrings, glutes and abdominal muscles. Leg presses and Straight leg deadlifts are the common workouts that may cause the hamstrings and glutes to tighten more than the quads and psoas.
The most common symptom of posterior pelvic tilt is the loss of curvature in the spine. The upper body will also begin to pitch forward while the cervical segment and the thoracic segment are pushed forward. People suffering from this condition may also appear stooped over. You may also experience a bulge or rupture on the posterior side as more pressure is applied to the spinal disc. Disc bulging or herniation can irritate the nerves causing sciatica pain.
3. Lateral pelvic tilt
Lateral pelvic tilt is characterized by tilting of the hip either to the right or left of the pelvis. It’s usually associated with people who have legs of different length or scoliosis. It can also be caused by one leg bending while the other remains straight. Left pelvic tilt occurs when the left pelvis drops lower than the right pelvis. The Right Pelvic tilt, on the other hand, occurs when the right pelvis drops lower than the left pelvis.
Lateral Pelvic tilting causes the muscles involved to tilt, go out of balance and cause back pain. The muscles affected include the Adductors, Quadratus Lumborum, and Glute medius muscle. Patients suffering from lateral pelvic tilt are likely to develop Disc degeneration, Sacroiliac joint pain, muscles Spasms and Disc herniation.
In general, hip hiking occurs as a result of tense hip flexors, hip adductors, and quadratus lumborum. To correct this condition, you need to stretch the lower back and hip flexors and strengthen your hip abductors. A dropped hip, on the other hand, is caused by weakened hip flexors and QL. To correct this condition, you need to strengthen your adductor and hip flexor muscles.
The above three main forms of pelvic tilt are commonly caused by extended, improper sitting and standing postures which results in muscle imbalance. Some forms of exercise that result in uneven impact and pressure on the body can also contribute to pelvic tilting. Mild cases of pelvic tilt can be corrected by correcting your sitting posture and living a more physically active lifestyle. Severe cases might, however, need specialized exercises and physical therapy supervised by a qualified physician. If not treated in time, pelvic tilt can cause a wide range of complication including back pain, muscle pain, shoulder pain, neck pain, headaches, joint and knee pain and pain in pretty much any muscles affected.
You may have a robust fitness plan in place and have previously seen huge progress in both your endurance and your strength but have now hit a plateau. If this is you, you may need to add some mobility sessions to your weekly training.
Often overlooked, but key for long-term fitness success, we take a look at what mobility is and how it can improve your overall progress.
What is Mobility?
Simply, mobility is strength and range of motion in the muscles and joints. It can sometimes cause confusion with flexibility, but the two are different.
There are two types of mobility, the first being mobility of the muscle or isolated body part – this is where some muscle groups have good mobility but others are more restricted. Particularly common in those that train one muscle group more than others, take a boxer for example, or those that sit down a lot during the day.
The issue with this type of mobility is that it doesn’t encourage a good level of mobility in all muscles, which is why the second type of mobility is just as, if not more, important: structural balance.
Structural balance, as the name suggests, impacts how balanced your entire body is, as well as its mobility. For injury prevention, structural balance is an imperative part of your training.
Why is Mobility Important?
Mobility training, particularly structural balance work has huge benefits. The biggest being perhaps how it helps with posture, joint alignment and other chronic injuries that are growing ever more common – we see this a lot with people who have desk jobs.
Having the correct balance in your body alleviates unnecessary strain on joints and therefore restrict the range of movements in your body. This is particularly important if you’re suffer from long-term joint, as well as muscle aches and pains.
If you have poor mobility and balance, and therefore the onset of discomfort and pain, you need to be adding mobility training to your arsenal.
How Often Should I be Working on my Mobility?
You should ideally be adding a session in weekly. If you do regular sessions, consistently, you will see an improvement in your overall mobility as well as a reduction in every day aches and pains.
Slowing your exercises down and taking time to really focus on rehabilitation training will help you get more in touch with your body, too.
If you don’t want to dedicated time to specific mobility training, we recommend doing some mobility movements either at the beginning of a workout or at the end. If you begin your workout with mobility training, you’ll warm the muscles up which will also allow for deeper moves – so you should see an improvement in your overall training, too.
How to Improve Mobility
There are a range of movements that will help improve your mobility:
Isolating certain muscles or body parts will help your target particularly weak areas. We often see that the main muscle groups get used regularly – whether this is because these just happen to be used every day or people are miss-informed about the exercises they think they need to do. For example, gym-goers may go and work on biceps and triceps in the gym, completely overworking these well-known, larger muscles and causing weakness and poor mobility to other arm muscles and ligaments.
Compound movements are also good to add to your mobility training roster. These are multi-joint exercises and will give you a good range of motion to add power to the move and build strength, though it’s important to combine these moves with the isolating moves above – then you’re firing from all cylinders, so to speak.
As well as isolated and compound exercises, you can focus some time on balancing; start by standing on one foot and holding, or, invest in a balance board or bosu ball to really challenge yourself.
In any instance, you need to be performing these moves slowly and controlled – otherwise you’ll risk injury.
If you’re looking to book in for regular sports therapy massages to help with your mobility, then book in today with our expert therapists who are on hand to help you back to being your best.
Constant pain can take over your life, making it hard to concentrate on anything else but the dull ache, soreness, discomfort or other pain in your body. Chronic pain can test even the most positive of people, but there are ways to manage it.
As massage therapists, we are obviously big advocates of using deep tissues massages as a way to help manage pain and reduce symptoms, but there are some additional things you can be doing at home to help.
If you’re prone to sore joints and constant aches and pains, you may find solace in powerful natural remedies that can be found in your local supermarket.
Here are the foods you should be putting on your shopping list to help reduce inflammation in the body:
There’s a great enzyme found in the exotic fruit pineapple, known as Bromelain, that boasts wonderful anti-inflammatory benefits. Bromelain gets absorbed into our bodies in the digestive tract, where other enzymes don’t absorb – instead they break down – meaning where other nutrients are passing through the digestive tract, the body sees a difference from Bromelain.
Ginger is a fantastic addition to your day-to-day life, whether you’re adding it to your tea, sprinkling it over your meals or taking it as a health-kick shot, you should really be getting your ginger fix.
It boasts huge benefits and protecting your immune system and reducing inflammation are the main two.
Strong in flavour and packing a punch in the health stakes, try adding ginger to your meals to reap the rewards.
As with ginger, you can add this to your meals, drink it as tea or take capsules, turmeric has a whole host of benefits when it comes to reducing inflammation in the body. This healthy root is hugely popular and it’s easy to see why:
Turmeric can dramatically increase the antioxidant capacity in the body and fight the mechanisms behind many diseases.
Green Leafy Vegetables
Rich in anti-inflammatory flavonoids, leafy vegetables, such as spinach and kale, are packed with antioxidants that can help your body fight inflammation. One cup includes vitamin A, C and K as well as iron.
Love it or hate it, celery is extremely good for us. With properties that help lower cholesterol and blood pressure, as well as prevent against heart disease, celery is great for fighting inflammation and bacterial infections.
Boasting a range of vitamins, such as K, A, C as well as potassium, celery should be a regular ingredient in your cooking.
Beautiful beets get their renowned colour from the antioxidant Betalain – an incredible anti-inflammatory. The compounds found in these popular vegetables block the cyclo-oxygenase enzymes, which can trigger inflammation.
Beetroot is full of potassium and magnesium so add to your diet where you can to make a bright plate of food.
These are well known for the antioxidants; blueberries are the go-to for low-sugar and high antioxidants. Not only do they contribute to good skin, good digestion and improved memory and motor function, blueberries are packed with vitamin K and C, boasting great anti-inflammatory properties.
With the spotlight well and truly on bone broth, thanks to its surge in popularity amongst health bloggers, bone broth is jam-packed with nutrients and minerals that your body can easily absorb. Offering calcium and magnesium, amongst others, bone broth also contains compounds that reduce inflammation that cause arthritis and joint pain.
Flavour your meals with bone broth or add hot water and drink to kick-start your digestive system.
Of course, these should be added to your diet in addition to any skeletal or muscular work that you’re doing. If you combine proper rehabilitation with a diet that works for you, you’ll likely see bigger changes in any aches and pains in your body.
For a deep tissue massage to help alleviate pain and soreness, get in touch with one of our friendly experts and get booked in for a massage today!
If you think that all massages are relaxing, you’d be wrong. Sports massages and massage therapy apply a lot of targeted pressure to tension points in your body – wherever you’re feeling pain – to help relieve discomfort, muscle soreness and joint pain.
The benefits of sports massages are vast but if you’re still not sure on whether massages are for you, here are just some of the improvements that you could see from regular massage therapy:
Regular treatment can increase the elasticity of muscles and aid towards improving your flexibility. Whether you’re working out or working at a desk, muscles can seize up and get tight. Loosening up these muscles is a huge benefit of sports massage and so after just one session, you should see an improvement in your flexibility. If you keep up with regular sessions and add mobility into your rehabilitation, you’ll see notable differences.
Reduced Risk of Injury
If you’re an avid gym-goer but skip the all-important warm up and cool down, you may find that you’re more prone to injury. If so, having regular massage therapy treatment can help as the pressure of the stroke releases tension, and therefore inflammation around joints and key muscle groups. This helps the muscles recover after working out faster and helps towards avoiding injury.
Release Muscle Tension
You’ll notice this one almost instantly. As your therapist works through your tight muscles, they’ll be relieving tension and whilst at first this may feel uncomfortable, and you may be sore for a day or so afterwards (much like a workout), sports massages are great for getting movement back into tight and tense muscles.
A huge benefit from regular massage treatment, particularly from your hips up to your neck, is that you will see great improvement in your posture. With that, you’ll feel more confident, look slimmer (from the way you’ll be holding your core), reduce the pressure on your hips and knees and improve your form when working out. If you work at a desk, this one is hugely important for you.
Boosted Circulatory System
As your therapist works through a session with you, they will use a range of techniques and pressure that will encourage the circulation in your body – which will benefit the cardiovascular system. The movements push oxygen around the body, which increases capillarisation – which is what supplies oxygen to the muscles to help remove carbon dioxide. An increase in oxygen means healthier muscles; essentially, massage increases the rate of blood flow back to the heart.
These are just some of the benefits that can be expected from regular treatment. As well as physical benefits, you can expect to see psychological and physiological benefits, ranging from physical pain reduction to decreases in anxiety.
Sports massages can be painful and uncomfortable at times, but no pain, no gain, right?
For more information on sports massage therapy in Hampshire, contact us today at email@example.com
Or call on 07840074288