How do I prevent muscle and joint injuries?
Muscle and joint injuries are one of the highest causes of sick days and a large burden on our government’s health expenditure.
How many of your friends and family currently have low back pain or neck pain?
Fortunately, a lot of these soft tissue injuries are preventable.
Here is how:
- Stop sitting!
On average Australians sit over 8 hours a day. Did you know that sitting for 4 hours or more each day, will increase your risk of health conditions, such as obesity, cardiovascular disease and musculoskeletal injuries.
NSW Health recommends that everyone should get up after 30 mins of sitting.
Try setting an alarm when you're at work to remind yourself to get up. Or do some activities that you would normally be sitting for, in standing.
- Add variety to your day
Ancient man was a hunter and gatherer, they would spend the day walking, running, climbing trees, building shelter and hunting. Our body is designed to do lots of different types of activity, that’s why our joints move in lots of different directions.
Unfortunately, our 21st Century lifestyle is repetitive, we work on computers, drive home to cook and then spend the rest of the night watching Netflix. That is a lot of time being spent in one posture! As a result, the body will become stiff in the muscles and joints that are not used regularly. This increases our risk of injury.
How can we change this? Start thinking about how you can do some of your daily activities differently. For example, use your iPad while lying on your stomach or sideways walk around your house. They may sound like unusual suggestions, but we are trying use parts of our bodies that don’t get much exercise with our “normal” daily chores.
- Stay flexible
Technology has made our lifestyle repetitive. Even if you do exercise regularly, you will probably find there are certain parts of your body that are always tight. This can be due to overuse or underuse. Regular massage, stretch or mobility exercises or self massage with foam rollers or spikey balls are easy ways to counteract the effects of prolonged activity and prevent injury. The more flexible you body is, the better prepared it is to adapt to change and avoid injury.
Soft tissues injuries are very common, and most of them are caused by not using you body as they have been designed for.
What adjustments can you make to your lifestyle to help prevent injury?