Have you ever had some neck tightness that thankfully just went away on its own?
Or perhaps a sore muscle which despite resting started to interrupt your day to day activities?
Or have you tried to return to an exercise program after being unwell and were left just feeling a bit “blah” afterwards?
I spend a lot of time trying to help clients manage their bodies and activities as well as possible. I’ve often described my job as being similar to a mechanic (stay with me!). I know the different components needed to make a car (body) run smoothly. I’m also lucky enough to have a network of intelligent individuals around me who can help troubleshoot any sinister issues and get any dodgy parts assessed and managed. I feel that I know what is needed to get a car (body) humming along nicely and reach some decent kilometers!
As a mechanic, one of the greatest gifts I feel I can give clients … is a toolbox!
Full of skills, tips, and tools to help manage your body and any of the niggles that may occur.
So what would I put in my ultimate toolbox for managing niggles?
- Body awareness and an ability to listen!
A strange tool you might think. But I see this as the MOST VALUABLE one. Managing a niggle or complaint can only really commence if you can actually pick up that something is amiss. Getting a good sense for what is “normal” recovery and/or soreness for your body is a wonderful skill to have. Once you can recognize something isn’t feeling quite right, then you can decide what tool you then might use next!
- Rear Vision Mirrors
An ability to reflect on the past is also a handy skill to have. Trying to figure out what may have contributed to any soreness you are having may help you make some good decisions for the days ahead. Deciding whether to rest, scale a session back or continue as normal can be made much easier if you can learn to help understand why your body may be reacting in a particular way.
- Spikey Balls, Foam Rollers, and Tape oh MY!
These are all inexpensive tools which should be in any movement toolbox. We all have some areas which can get a bit gunky with sitting, long drives or extra tough gym sessions. Knowing which areas to target and how to use these tools appropriately can go a long way in preventing niggles becoming injuries.
- Know your limits and have a plan
A lot of niggles are often as a result of doing too much, although usually this is unintentional. Have you ever forgotten your walking shoes but needed to walk that 2km anyway? Or have been asked at the last minute to babysit for the day when you had planned to take it easy? Getting a good feel for what your body is capable of and aiming to make only small changes at a time to your gym/walking and activities of daily living can also help prevent and keep niggles under control.
- A good team around you!
Your hand picked combination of trusted health professionals can also be that tool you leave at the bottom of your toolbox and only pull out when necessary. A quick e-mail or phone call to someone you trust can do wonders to ensure you are on the right track or recommend what the next steps could be.
So there you have it. Sarah’s ultimate toolbox to manage those niggles and keep you moving!
What do you think? Would you add anything else?