Healthy Living Tips

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Hook Chiropractic
The Barn
Holt Lane
Hook
RG27 9ER

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Appointments available 6 days/week
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Healthy Living Tips

Travel

When you travel make sure you get the most out of your break. Don't let an easily avoided injury ruin your holiday fun.

Whether you are driving in the UK, or flying somewhere exotic, here are some simple tips to help keep you healthy this holiday.

Before you travel:

  • Choose your suitcase wisely. Choose a lightweight case with wheels. Hard cases tend to be heavy before you even pack them and soft holdalls often end up being carried.
  • Two is better than one: rather than jamming everything into one large suitcase, take two smaller ones so you can more easily distribute the weight.

Driving:

  • Spend time getting your car seat posture correct. Long journeys spent in a poor position can lead to a crippling effort getting out of the car! Be close enough to the steering wheel to keep your elbows relaxed to prevent a neck injury. If you are in a tall vehicle make sure your knees are lower than your hips to maintain the correct posture in your lower back. If you can't achieve this with the seat adjustments, a seat wedge may be the solution. In smaller cars, try to ensure your thighs are as level as possible.
  • Relax at the wheel. Keep your head relaxed against the head rest and your shoulders down.
  • Stop regularly. Take a break to stretch your arms and legs at least every two hours.
  • Exercise. If you are stuck in heavy traffic, do some simple exercises in your seat. Clench your bottom, do some pelvic floor exercises, neck stretches, side bends or shoulder shrugs.

Air-travel:

  • Experienced high flyers avoid lots of alcohol and caffeine on the flight. They know that this causes dehydration and will make you more prone to injury and exacerbate muscle aches.
  • Travel light. Put only the essentials in your onboard bag, so you don't have to carry too much. Use a rucksack and put both straps on your shoulders.
  • Exercise. As with driving, even if you are restricted in your seat, you can still do simple neck stretches, foot rotations, good toes/naughty toes, and shoulder shrugs.
  • Don't be lazy. Walk instead of using the travelator. Walking is an easy way to get things moving after a long flight.
  • Don't reach too far. When collecting your bags from the carousel, wait until it comes to you, don't over reach and risk a lower back injury.
  • Push, don't pull. Pulling heavy bags behind you causes twisting of the upper body and neck. Where possible, push the bag or use a trolley...one without wonky wheels!!

When you arrive:

  • Check the bed. If you think it will be too hard or soft for you, ask if the hotel has any spare rooms. If not and the bed is too hard, you can always try putting a spare duvet between you and the mattress.
  • Be wary of sun beds. Spending long periods lying on a sun lounger is not good for your spine. Make sure you get up and move frequently. Lying on your tummy puts a lot of stress on the lower back and neck, so if you are lying on your front reading, put the book on the floor and hang your head over the edge to keep your neck in a neutral position.
  • Exercise. Stay active, even on a relaxing holiday. Keep mobile with a swim or walk throughout the day. Don't spend all your swimming time doing breast stroke. Mix it up with front crawl or back stroke. If you plan on using the hotel gym equipment, make sure you have a proper induction.

Be careful of unusual sports. Many people end up with injuries after trying sports like jet biking, wind surfing or water skiing. Be careful and get proper training first.


Golf Exercises:

Golf is a great way to keep mobile and stay active, but its no walk in the park.

A consistent swing technique depends on the balance and coordination of all the muscles in your body.  Any imbalance in your ankles, hips, pelvis, spine, neck, shoulders or wrists can lead to a devastating round.  Consider that if you are swinging your club between 70-100 times each round, what starts as a little niggle can easily grow into a bigger problem by the nineteenth hole.  It’s not only the score card that suffers….and there’s no Mulligans in the pain game  !

Here are some simple ways to reduce the risk of succumbing to the more common golfing injuries.

Equipment.

Use the latest lightweight bags with double over the shoulder straps or an electric golf caddy.  Remember “push-me/pull-you” golf trolleys are not as good for you as you might think….especially uphill!

Don’t overload your bag with lots of unnecessary equipment or clothing.  Carry the bare minimum and tidy your bag regularly.

Stretching:

Here are easy stretches to do before you get to the 1st tee to help you maintain flexibility throughout the round.

  • Stand with your feet hip width apart.  Hold the golf club behind your buttocks in both hands and gently extend your arms away from your body. This will stretch out the muscles across the front of your chest.
  • Now place your club in the crook of your elbows, behind your low back. Slowly rotate your body in both directions 10 times, increasing the stretch at the end of the turn reach time.
  • Repeat the exercise above, except hold the golf club behind your neck, across the shoulders. Follow the upper body movement with your head in each direction to stretch your neck.
  • Now lift the club above your head and push it to the sky to stretch the shoulders.
  • Bring the club down, still in both hands, straight out in front of you. Push it away from you and feel a nice stretch across your upper back.
  • Finally, place the club upright on the ground in front of you about an arms length away.  Using it as a support bend forward from the waist to ninety degrees and then push the club away with your hands.  Feel the stretch in the sides of your body (Lat Dorsi).

On the course :

Whilst politely waiting your turn on the tee,  take a couple of swings with your driver backwards from your follow through position into your backswing position.  This will even up the rotational stresses on your back as you go through your round….and finally don’t forget to “Bend ze knees “ when retrieving your ball from the hole in one you just shot !

Gardening

Gardening is an excellent way of staying in touch with nature but with all the bending, twisting, reaching and pulling, your body may not be ready for exercise of the garden variety.

Gardening can be enjoyable, but for some it is important to stretch your muscles before reaching for your gardening tools. Our article last month highlighted that not everyone gets the same benefit from stretching, but if you are generally quite stiff and inflexible, stretching may help avoid injuries caused by a bit of over-zealous digging. The back, upper legs, shoulders, and wrists all have major muscle groups which are affected when exercising your green fingers. A warm-up and cool-down period can be as helpful in gardening as it is for any other physical activity.

To make gardening as fun and enjoyable as possible, help prepare your body for this type of physical activity by performing some pre-gardening stretches. This will help to minimise muscle aches after a day spent in your garden.

Garden Fitness Stretches

  1. Before stretching for any activity, breathe in and out, slowly and rhythmically. Do not bounce or jerk your body, and stretch as far and as comfortably as you can. Do not follow the no pain, no gain rule. Stretching should not be painful.
  2. Whilst sitting, prop your heel on a stool or step in front of you, keeping the knees straight. Lean forward until you feel a stretch in the back of the thigh, or the hamstring muscle. Hold this position for 15 seconds. Do this once more and repeat with the other leg.
  3. Stand up, balance yourself or hold on to something for stability. Grab the front of your ankle from behind. Pull your heel towards your buttocks and hold the position for 15 seconds. Do this again and repeat with the other leg. You should feel the stretch in the front of your thigh. If kneeling is uncomfortable, you can do this lying on your side.
  4. While standing, stretch your arms out to the side. Lean to one side for 10 seconds, then to the other. Repeat this stretch three times.
  5. Do the "Hug your best friend." Wrap your arms around yourself and rotate to one side, stretching as far as you can comfortably go. Hold for 10 seconds and reverse. Repeat two or three times.

If you would like a more comprehensive warm up for gardening, the British Chiropractic Association has developed a back friendly stretching routine called “Straighten Up”. This can be found at www.chiropractic-uk.co.uk on the home page.

For everyone, it is important to be aware of your body technique, body form and correct posture whilst gardening. It sounds like a clichè, but "bend ze knees" really is the best method. Kneel, don't bend from the waist, and alternate your stance and movements as often as possible to keep the muscles and body balanced. Don't set yourself an unachievable task. It might be very satisfying to get a whole bed dug over in one day, but your back may not thank you for it! Vary the jobs you do in one session of gardening. This way you will be using different muscle groups and less likely to injure one through repetition. Most importantly listen to your body. If you feel you need a break, take a short rest and go back to the task in hand later in the day. It’s probably time for a brew anyway!!

When the Veg Are Planted...

If you already feel muscle aches and pains, there are ways to alleviate the discomfort. A warm bath will relieve tired muscles, but if problems persist, apply a cold pack and hot pack alternately to the area of pain, each for 10 mins or so.

Teens and Technology

New findings from the BCA reveal that almost one in five (15%) people in the South East first started experiencing neck or back pain before they were 20 years old*.
In the UK, 40% of 11 to 16 year olds have already suffered and worryingly, more than one in seven (15%) parents said their son’s or daughter’s back or neck pain is a result of using a laptop, tablet or computer.
The research revealed that almost three quarters (68%) of 11 to 16 year olds spend up to four hours a day on a laptop, tablet or computer and a staggering 73% spend up to six hours on the devices.  More than a third (38%) of parents said their child spends up to six hours a day on their mobile phone.  
Today, Verity & Martin are encouraging parents to limit the time their children spend using technology and instead encourage more active pastimes over the Easter holidays.
Based on a two hour period, young people spend more time on games consoles (33%) than doing an activity like riding a bicycle (12%). When asked how much time their teenager spends on their bicycle, one in five (21%) parents admitted that they don’t have one.
Perhaps unsurprisingly, nearly half (46%) of parents questioned acknowledged that their children don’t spend enough time exercising, despite NHS guidelines stating that children and young people between 5 and 18 years old need to do at least one hour of physical activity every day.

The chiropractors at Hook Chiropractic offer the following top tips for parents to help their teenagers reduce the risks of back and neck pain:

  • Get your kids moving: The fitter children are, the more their backs can withstand periods of sitting still. To increase fitness levels, your child should be more active which can be achieved by doing activities including walking to school, riding a bike or going for a run.
  • Teach them how to sit: It’s important that children learn the correct way to sit when they’re using a computer. Teach them to keep their arms relaxed and close to their body and place arms on the desk when typing. Make sure the top of the screen is level with the eyebrows and the chair is titled slightly forward, allowing for the knees to be lower than the hips and the feet to be flat on the floor. Using a laptop or tablet away from a desk will encourage poor posture, so limit time spent in this way.
  • Don’t sit still for too long: Make sure children take a break from the position they’re sitting in on a regular basis and stretch their arms, shrug their shoulders and move their fingers around - this helps to keep the muscles more relaxed.
  • Lead by example: Maintaining good posture and promoting good back health is something that everyone should be doing, adults and children alike. If you make it a priority, it’s easier for your children to see the relevance.
  • Seek medical advice: Seek professional advice if your child is experiencing pain which has lasted for more than a few days. If your child wants to be more active, check that there are no medical reasons why they should not exercise, particularly if they are not normally physically active.

For more information on how we may be able to help you or to book an appointment please contact us at 01256 630506 or office@hookchiro.co.uk