The human body has an enormous capacity to be resilient but as we reach our forties, our bodies can become the victims of habits we have adopted over the years.
We often develop ways of doing certain manual tasks over many years. If you have been driving for 20 years or more you may have developed a particular way you get out of the car, put your leading foot down and turning on that leg to stand. If you do this many times a day and many days a year, this can impact on the knee as you stand and rotate on it. The same applies for standing up out of a chair – do you always put one foot forward in front, putting more pressure through one leg and consequently one knee? Another example may be the way you sleep – do you always sleep in the same position on one side? Or do you always stand with more weight on one leg than the other. That is a very common thing.
These habits can and do impact on the body over years, wearing away one weightbearing joint more than the other, or using one group of muscles in the same way repeatedly. This can lead to body asymmetries as well as muscle and joint imbalances.
Consider the impact of what you do daily – the small tasks you do the same way every day.
Five simple tips that can help you reduce the imbalances and prevent overloading joints and muscles:
- Examine the way you do things every day and take the opportunity to change things up even just a little. This will alter muscles you use, or the way you use the same muscles.
- Identify your imbalances:
- Stand upright in front of a full – length mirror
- Examine the height of each shoulder, the orientation of our head and the placement of your feet. Is your head tilting slightly to one side? Are both feet in line with each other or is one foot slightly in front of the other?
- Try and even up your foot placement and place your hands on your hips. Is one elbow forward – this may indicate a slight rotation at the hips or further up the spine.
3. Stretch daily. This can help lengthen tight muscles and help you to become aware of which muscles are tighter than others.
4. Strength training can help address the muscle imbalances. This can take the form of simple exercises you can do at home such as push-ups, bridges or squats.
5. When you are exercising ensure you are doing different sorts of exercise. For instance, if you walk or run a lot, you can do some strength-based training at home or the gym. Or if you swim a lot, add in walking or cycling.
Hope these tips are useful, Deb