Mindful week – Get out of my head 22/1/18

Do you have a file in your head of ‘All the things that could go wrong’? It could also be labelled the ‘final destination’ folder.

I don’t know about you but I have an entire shelf of these, and it stops me enjoying a lot of the things in life that I should. I could go meet up with Fred and George for a run. Yea but;

  • they might be better than me, I’m supposed to be fit and I don’t like losing
  • I might not have anything to talk about, they’ll think I’m really dull
  • I’m tired, I’d be better staying in
  • what if I slip and hurt myself, I’ll struggle to demo at work
  • it might rain, then I might get cold, hypothermic and sick
  • what if George brings up that time I embarrassed myself, I couldn’t face that again
  • and so it continues what if, what if, what if…

The majority of these thoughts are ridiculous when I say them out loud but when they’re bouncing around my head unchecked they seem insurmountable! I’m not sharing any tips and tricks today as I don’t have any but sharing my experiences in case anyone else finds it useful.

I’ve found as I’ve gotten older these thoughts have become more numerous and powerful (I can only imagine what’ll happen in 10/20/30 years without getting this in check). I think part of this stems with a) life experience, b) independence. As we get older we are more able to dictate what we do in our life, if we’re part of any clubs, who we spend time with etc. It’s very easy then to give into the little voice in our head that says no because it’s less effort and we won’t let anyone down. As insidious as this thought process is, it’s encouraged by traditional media and social media which makes it easier to ‘experience the world’ from our living rooms.

Today’s thought experiment is this. If you didn’t have TV or computers or mobiles at all for a full week. What would you do differently? Let me know in the comments below.

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Mindful week – Get out of my head 22/1/18

20/1/18

Weekly program. All classes follow the CrossFit method. Friday as a named workout where we can test our fitness and compare to before if it’s a repeat workout. Saturdays are normally partner or team workouts and are super fun!! This week our mobility day is Tuesday.

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Daily Struggle: sitting – 20/1/18

While for many of us sitting seems like a relief, is it in fact causing more harm than good? Let’s paint the picture, you’ve been at work all day in your office, working at a computer desk and when you get home after sitting in your car in traffic for an hour, all you want to do is sit down in front of the telly and have some food. Side note, incase you’re reading this and think well I stand all day so this doesn’t apply to me. Standing can have the same negative effects unless combined with actual movement, eg. working the tills at a shop can be just as bad for your body as sitting at a desk :O

One of the research projects I applied to do during my degree in human biology was investigating the difference between frequent bursts of activity with long periods of rest in between (full time athlete’s life or average gym goer) vs a consistent amount of activity throughout the day (blue collar worker). Turns out the blue collar worker had an overall healthier approach to life although had their own issues of joint care and ROM.

What we’ve seen in the past few years is a boom in smart watches and fitness trackers, which are great for one thing and one thing only. Reminding us to move. It’s so easy to get stuck in a task and let 2 hours go by without moving other than to move your fingers whether thats at work or watching a film. The body just hates this, kids fidget for a reason, the body crave movement and stifling this is a crime against kids (insert generic JP rant). Our bodies adapt to what we ask of them, ask it to less, it’ll start storing more fat, lowering your metabolism, decrease your bone density and make you feel lethargic all things we don’t want to happen. Ask more of our bodies and they’ll thrive.

So the solution is simple. Get up shake your legs, swing your arms, try squeezing different muscles, jump around. Pretend you’re a kid once an hour for a minute or two. Set your fitness tracker to remind you. Let me know how this changes your mood, concentration and general energy levels.
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Daily Struggle: sitting – 20/1/18

Daily Struggle: carrying bags/kids – 19/1/18

My jaw hit the floor reading this article. This was originally supposed to be about carrying kids for new mums but I went down all the rabbit holes. Check out below why I was shocked.

Let me know below what you carry on a daily basis? Laptop bag? Kids? Lunch?

Why bags are wrecking our backs

I carried a bag full of books, a saxophone, rowing kit bag and sometimes an additional bag to school for 7 years while I was growing up and had raging back pain for many years during and after that and never before did I connect the two together. My walk was just 10mins long to school and 20 back (long story) but that adds up over time.

Daily Struggle: carrying bags/kids – 19/1/18

Daily Struggle: Sleeping – 18/1/18

Today we’ll focus on how we spend approximately 33% of our life, asleep. We’ll form a pro’s and cons list of the most popular sleeping positions to raise awareness of why our body might feel the way it does (those who are pregnant may experiment other complications).

Back Sleepers

Pros: great for spine and neck health and preventing face wrinkles. Ideally no pillow required (a pillow may cause breathing difficulty) although one under the knees may help back position if the hips are tight.

Cons: snoring and sleep apnea

Side Sleepers

Pros: sleeping on your left hand side can ease heartburn and acid reflux

Cons: puts pressure on stomach and lungs, squishes one arm. In fact resting the head on one arm can adversely affect the nerves and muscles. Interesting short read on Shoulder pain when sleeping.

Stomach Sleepers

Pros: eases snoring

Cons: regarded as the worst position it flattens the spine, causes neck strain, arm positions may also adversely affect the nerves and muscles.

The conclusion then is this. There is not perfect sleeping position. We can look to make alterations by arranging pillows to get us into better position (less pressure on certain joints) or to prevent us rolling into a compromised position. If you’re not sure what way you sleep, most people will wake up in their preferred position. Reading this did you think, oh man, that’s why my shoulder is sore each morning, prepare to have your mind blown Apnea and shoulder pain.

Finally.
It is my personal opinion that beds are rubbish, Screen Shot 2018-01-15 at 12.20.34 a waste of space and a waste of money. Why do humans have to complicate everything?! Just look at that list I got from a website.  I would encourage you if you have never tried it, to sleep on the floor. I use a memory foam topper which is less than an inch thick and where before I was plagued with back pain from inconsistent mattresses now I’m guaranteed a consistent comfy sleep.

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Daily Struggle: Sleeping – 18/1/18

Daily Struggle: Texting – 17/1/18

Yesterday we talked about how an everyday task like driving can be harmful if poor posture is used.  Today lets turn our focus not just to texting, but kitchen chores, computer work and also driving. These are just a few examples of our forward head tilt.

This may or may not apply to you but a simple check you can do is this, does it feel uncomfortable to drive with your head resting on the headrest? Can you feel one vertebrae poking out at the bottom of your neck? If you know you look like you’ve got osteoporosis and you’re in your 30’s, lets get to it! We can make a couple of quick adjustments and make your super sexy posture look more like it should. Try these two suggestions below once a day for a week (set a reminder on your phone if that helps).

  1. A simple movement you can try comes from yoga and is called Tadasana or mountain pose. As I don’t wish to offend any yoga practitioners I’ve included a link HERE to take you through the asana. Basically, stand with the weight in the middle of your arches and imagine a string pulling the top of your head to the sky as high as it can go, shoulders are pressed back and down to your bum and ribs in a neutral position. It’s a really great position and can teach you a lot about your body, just try closing your eyes and see what you can feel.
  2. The second big one I’d suggest you try is stand against a wall imagining you’re getting a mug shot. Bring your arms up so elbow to elbow forms a straight line accross, keeping your back against the wall (you could use a golf ball to keep you honest) press your wrists to the wall, try to move the elbows up by your ears until your arms are straight all while pressing the wrists to the wall. Return them to normal. Try 10 of these.
  3. There are a number of self massage and trigger points you can use for the pec and upper back muscles but I’m not convinced anyone does enough of that for it to make long term changes.

As always if you have any questions, feel free to ask a coach.

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Daily struggle: Driving – 16/1/17

This week we’re going to shift focus from our feet to some of the rest of our body. We’re going to look at everyday tasks, how they might be causing us issue and see if we can’t optimise them.

The first one we’re going to look at is driving. More and more people commute every year and so spend time packed into their car cabin. Some people have no discomfort driving at all, some have neck pain, rounded shoulders, lower back pain, sciatica and knee pain, they can all come from spending time cooped up in this position. Wether we experience discomfort currently or not it’s good practice to check our position to ensure it doesn’t become an issue further down the road (ba dum tsh).

We’re actually going to come back to the neck pain and rounded shoulders tomorrow. Currently the easiest way to correct any issues with your driving position is to follow the setup guide below and just allow the position to relieve your bodies discomfort.

How to best set up your car

 

 

 

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