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Health and Wellbeing - May 2016

26 Apr 2016

Workout productivity

If you are a corporate worker of any kind, you would be well aware of the term productivity!

You are probably managing productivity, having your productivity monitored or a combination of both. In the work setting, we think about productivity as a measure of inputs and outputs, with some consideration of time. A highly productive model might produce great results, with a minimum of input in the least time possible.

You might have your own definition, but the purpose of this short article is to get you to start thinking about your exercise routines in terms of productivity. I’m not talking about intensity, although a high intensity can be a highly productive way to exercise.

The key to maximising workout productivity is clarity around objectives, from which a clear plan can be constructed. If you have the knowledge and experience, you may be able to manage this yourself. If not, this is where a coach or personal trainer can help facilitate highly productive exercise plans.

An exercise plan would include what to do, when to do it, and how it should be enhanced with your dietary intake, which for the most part must remain balanced. Without this clarity, you might not be getting the results you desire.

Most gym memberships include sessions for consultation. Many modern private health insurance plans include options for personal training. Even if you know a lot about health and fitness, don’t hesitate to use all resources at your fingertips to maximise productivity in your workouts.

Lower back pain, hip flexors and hamstrings

Chronic lower back pain is a common complaint and condition suffered by many adults in this day and age. What we notice in a fitness setting is that this condition is more serious and more frequent amongst the sedentary and inactive populations.

Corporate workers who spend long hours at their desks without regular exercise unfortunately also suffer this condition which can impact their quality of life outside of work.

Acute conditions aside, we frequently see a significant reduction in the severity of lower back pain with the introduction of hip mobility exercises, light weight training and stretching of the muscles in the general area. The two key muscle groups that are critical and whose condition impacts lower back health are the hip flexors and hamstrings.

In a seated position the hamstrings and hip flexors are in a shortened state. Over time, and without exercise and stretching, they become tight and this impacts the alignment of the pelvis. Tight hip flexors often result in anterior tilt of the pelvis which in turn places pressure on the lower back. To resolve this we need to stretch and strengthen the hamstrings and hip flexors, generally the whole body to help improve body alignment and wellbeing.

Exercise must be for everybody

You don’t have to be fit to exercise, but you have to exercise to be fit.

It’s not all about fitness though. Regular exercise has so many other benefits like stress release, socialisation, mental health benefits, increasing bone density and prevention of lifestyle diseases like diabetes and obesity. For those reasons alone, we must do more to increase the participation and activity levels in our communities.

However, there are many legitimate barriers out there that hinder a large part of the population from starting and maintaining a regular exercise routine. Some barriers are real – like illness, injury, age, location, financial situation and disability, and may need more time and support to facilitate. They should not however be the determinants of whether people can participate in an exercise program or not.

Recently, and as seen in this issue of the Docklands News we provided access for a group of students living with autism to our facilities without charge as part of the Premier’s Active April program. Our staff volunteered to develop and deliver an engaging, supervised workout for the group. Most of the students had never been into a gym before. The results were amazing on every level.

It’s time the fitness, sport and recreation industry and its service providers do more to ensure there is access to the benefits of an active lifestyle to all parts of the community. This is an area that the YMCA leads the field, providing access and programs to people who otherwise would be excluded by social and physical barriers. The YMCA Open Doors approach to health and wellbeing for the communities they serve should be celebrated and be recognised as the industry bench mark.

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