Monday, October 22, 2012

Tune up

So, raise your hand if you have ever had an ache or a pain. If your hand is not up, you are either a liar or you live in a bubble. Everybody has issues that all too often go ignored. A sore knee, a stiff back, foot pain or just a general lack of flexibility. These are the kinds of wear and tear that we all encounter, whether you are an athlete or not. If addressed, these should not pose any long term threat to your ability to move. But if these issues are ignored they will get worse and increase your risk of more serious, acute injury, ie; damaged joints, torn muscles and broken bones. There is nothing worse than picking up a senseless injury and not being as mobile as you should.

The answer: your own bag of tricks to fix your issues. My number one source for expanding my bag of tricks is Kelly Starret's Mobilitywod.com. He is a doctor of physical therapy and takes a direct, sometimes painful approach to smashing your physical nastiness. With a few simple tools (golf ball, broom stick, foam roller, etc.) you can keep your issues in check and stay on your feet.
This approach is a low tech, drug free, surgery free way to not only stay healthy but also improve performance.

Here are some of the tools in my tool box;

  • Golf ball - I keep one laying around and use it to roll out the tightness in my feet. This can help prevent plantar fasciitis and other lower leg problems. I also like to use the ball to roll my calf muscles, keeping them loose.
  • Foam Roller - This tool is showing up in more gyms across the country but it seems like most people aren't sure how to use them correctly. This tool is used to massage any part of the body that needs attention. I spend a lot of time on my thighs, hips and back, usually prior to my workout. Check out youtube for more specifics on foam rolling.
  • Yoga - Have you ever watched your cat or dog arch and stretch? We should take note. These moves from the animal world are called up and down dog in yoga and they form the foundation for a great stretching routine. Adding some of these moves into your daily routine will go a long way to keeping you limber and healthy.
Think about where your issues reside. Do you have tight hamstrings? Does your back hurt? Your neck? Knees? Feet? Expand your toolbox and start addressing those issues.


PS - Many of these mobility tools are rather painful, ie; standing on a golf ball. Think about a good deep tissue massage type of pain. Practicing self maintenance is a good chance to work on your mental toughness. Breath deep and go to your "pain cave."

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