It’s May and the green of the newly sprouted leaves on the trees and hedgerows is almost too green to believe; so bright and fresh, bursting with life. If you feel a long, long way from this sense of being, what’s in store this month might help just a little.
Life is jam packed with ‘go faster, push harder’ so we can get everything done as quickly as possible never mind how we do it and what effect it may have on our bodies. I am a simple soul and I like to keep things simple (no need to endorse this fact for those of you whose fingers are already twitching over the reply icon).
Last month I gave the analogy of our bodies being a simple machine. Use it as it is meant to be used and you have a greater chance of it working smoothly and effortlessly more of the time. Most of our activities force us into a bent over posture. If you think this doesn’t mean you let me prove my point. When you are next up on your feet doing something or right at this moment as you sit or stand reading this, straighten up. If you straightened up you weren’t straight before, hence my point! Test yourself the next time you are chopping anything (!), digging, clearing up in or outside, working in the shed or garden or simply walking between activities and you’ll see I am right. But I wish I wasn’t.
So what’s with the tree and the wall?
So accepting that you are bending over for much of the day, add in the effect of speed. Invariably time is against you or you just want to get the task finished and hence you ‘go faster, push harder’. In no time you are focusing on the job in hand (the tree) and not the consequences of ignoring your body’s warning signs until you hit the wall (overstraining your neck or shoulders or back or legs or hips or… you get the idea). Hitting the wall is an experience, uncomfortable at best and painful at worst which can be a long and challenging journey back to your normality.
So, beware of the wall!
Hitting the wall can take many forms. You could be holding your breath, keeping your arms and body tense and stiff, your shoulders going up round your ears, or your back and neck bent and twisted while you persist in holding your breath. Whatever combination of contortion you choose to adopt none will keep your body in good nick. Worse still you make me worry. So, I have for one day, and for one day only, released Gremlin stickman to mirror your inner gremlin as you approach the wall with ever increasing speed.
You may not think you look like this but there are times when really really do!
You’ll realise just how much you resemble Gremlin Stickman when you breathe, drop your shoulders, straighten your spine and soften your arms and legs.
Pay particular attention to breathing out fully while you move to avoid taking small shallow breathes which force your shoulders to lift and your body to stiffen.
Don’t be a Grumpy Gremlin and hit the wall. Remember that it is the sum of the parts that counts. If you take regular moments (no more than a moment is required) to straighten up, drop your shoulders and loosen your arms and legs AND BREATHE repeatedly through the day, whether you are using an iPad or keyboard, chopping food, mowing the grass, hovering etc. etc., you too can realise the Sensational Stickman in you.
Next month – your elbows! Are there warning signs you could be doing something about or do you already have a problem? See what you can learn.
As always, if you have any questions regarding any of the above or regarding some other health issue, please feel free to contact me either by email or through the contact form on my website. Alternatively give me a call. It’s always good to talk!