Health and Wellbeing - April 2017
30 Mar 2017
By Andrew Ward
Before you reach for the medication … make sure you consider the following tips to help manage your lower back pain for the long term:
Exercise. It doesn’t need to be strenuous, but maintaining regular and gentle exercise routines like walking and getting out of a seated position will help.
Limit down time. Excessive bed rest or lying down can be counterproductive. It may help relieve the immediate symptoms by taking pressure off the spine, but will not resolve underlying issues. If you can move, then you should. And the more you move the better!
Strengthen your core. Poor core muscular conditioning places strain on the lower back. Strengthening the core muscles will provide more support to the spine.
Improve your flexibility. Tight hamstrings, hip flexors and lower back muscles can play havoc with your posture and alignment of your pelvis. Combined with balanced strength work in these areas, stretching and improving flexibility will provide long-term solutions and pain management.
Consult a physiotherapist. Rather than relying on generalised advice or information, consult a physiotherapist. They will assess your personal situation and pain and then prescribe treatment and actions including strengthening and flexibility that you can complete in your own time.
Vitamin D deficiency
It’s tricky isn’t it – on one hand, we are encouraged to be sun-smart and stay out of the sun’s harmful rays. Then on the other, we are told about a downside to being deficient in Vitamin D brought on by a lack of exposure to sunlight.
Medical evidence suggests and confirms that Vitamin D is crucial for muscle and bone strength and development, and avoiding osteoporosis.
You may be deficient in Vitamin D under the following circumstances:
If you avoid contact with the sun for medical reasons;
You wear full body covers for personal or religious reasons;
Your work life or nature restricts your exposure to sunlight;
You have spent significant time in hospital or in a care situation; and
You suffer from a disease or take medication that impacts the production of Vitamin D in the body (for example: obesity, renal or liver disease).
How much sun is enough? Generally, the recommended exposure to sunlight is 5-15 minutes per day, outside the sun’s most intense period of 10am-2pm. Solariums are not a suitable source or means of exposing the skin to the sun. Consult your doctor for more information, related tests and further advice.
Counting down to winter!
We are just on 60 days from the start of the 2017 snow season and NOW is the perfect time to get prepared for your time on the slopes. Your preparation activities should cover both your personal fitness and your equipment.
Equipment wise, you should do a stock-take of all your gear. Make sure you didn’t lose something important like a glove on the last day of 2016. Maybe buy yourself a pair of new comfortable long, thin wool ski socks as a treat to kick off your first run!
Check all of your gear for rips, tears and signs of wear. It’s also time to get your board or skis tuned and waxed, as well as bindings checked. A poorly-maintained set up can lead to an early injury so don’t take chances with that. There are some great pre-season offers around town for tuning, so keep your eyes peeled.
Lastly and most importantly, it’s time to prepare your body. Speak with a trainer or do some research yourself on snow sport specific training.
Set yourself a plan for the next 8-10 weeks to boost your specific snow fitness. Such a program would consist on developing the strength and endurance of your legs, gluts and core. You would look to increase your mobility through stretching or yoga and boost general cardio-vascular fitness.
Some explosive, dynamic sprint, power and agility work would be beneficial as the nature of snow sports is stop and start, and requires on demand response to an ever changing terrain and environment.
Now, time to start snow dancing!
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