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Maybe The Flexibility Exercises Are Not Working Because…Stress

Maybe The Flexibility Exercises Are Not Working Because…Stress

“I know the pieces fit ’cause I watched them fall away.”
Photo by Hans-Peter Gauster on Unsplash

Ever feel like no matter how much flexibility or mobility work you do you’re just not getting any “looser”. The tension and pain in the body restricts you from doing certain things. Like, when walking around town you feel like a cowboy who just shat their pants and now tries to act cool like it didn’t happen. Well, it did happen. And it doesn’t look cool.

Maybe it’s not the flexibility exercises that are wrong, or that you’re not doing them enough. If you’ve done your best to eliminate the activities that make you tight (hello sitting hunched over a laptop) it’s worth observing your mind.

Hello mind. Remember me?

Enter stress. Not only can poorly managed psychological stress keep your muscles stiff, but it can also trigger and increase pain. As this study states about low back pain, “Having either stress or depression was also significantly associated with greater risk of flare-ups.”

When working with clients I see this highlighted most often in people dealing with the long-term annoyance of low back pain, frozen shoulder or neck pain. It’s not uncommon for them to have a flare up whenever they’re going through a stressful period in their life.

And regardless of what we do sometimes there is only little improvement with pain and tension until the stress subsides.

If you’re dealing with persistent pain get diagnosed by an allied health professional first.

That’s your physio, chiro or osteo. I hate to be all doom and gloom, but you want to make sure the pain isn’t there because of something more sinister.

Besides, once cleared and diagnosed you’ve removed the added stress of worrying about the unknown.

Combine stress management with your training plan

Different tools for different minds. There is no a universal solution for each person. But here are few that I’ve found people having the most success with when managing stress.

  • Prioritise sleep. I know I said there are no universal solutions. But poor sleep is a major piece in why people feel like rusty cowboys. Which makes sleep a universal solution.
  • Daily meditation or mindful breathing. Could be one minute, could be ten. Here’s my favourite no-nonsense meditation app.
  • Daily walks outside. If possible, somewhere away from traffic, concrete and excessive noise. So ideally avoid walking on a busy road that circles a highrise housing a kindergarten. Even short walks make a difference.
  • Laugh often. A short daily clip from Ricky Gervais should be prescribed as medicine.

Yes, working on flexibility is important

And we should keep at it. But sometimes we need to look beyond of what’s going on with our bodies. If we’re doing mobility exercises over and over again without seeing any change it’s worth checking what’s going in that mind of ours.

Thoughts on… VI: Stress, Habits, Mindfulness

Thoughts on… VI: Stress, Habits, Mindfulness

Once every 3-4 months, I go through all my notes that I’ve written down and do a roundup post of what has been going through my head. Thoughts and quotes from books and actions that I’ve found helpful for me or for my clients. Your mind can work for you or against you when trying to reach you fitness goals.  For the Parts I – V, check the links below this post. Without further due, here’s the Part VI  where I ponder mindfulness, habits and stress.

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Why Most People Struggle with Diet and Training Consistency

Why Most People Struggle with Diet and Training Consistency

Why Most People Struggle with Diet and Training Consistency

Long-term consistency and therefore success with training and diet doesn’t come from willpower. No, consistency happens while marching on a road paved with positive habits that align with your goals, lifestyle and values. But there’s a major factor that doesn’t get talked about enough. It negatively affects all of us, but especially those with type-a personality.

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Disconnect and De-Stress

Disconnect and De-Stress

DISCONNECTANDDE-STRESS

Today’s world is a hectic place to be in. We work long hours, have tight deadlines to meet and people (both good and bad) to please. With all the technology available today, hitting us with it’s sharp reach-ability it’s rare that we can just come home, put our feet up and forget work. Smartphones, tablets, computers and all the other jazz put us within reach all the time. It can get daunting. How many of us can resist checking our emails when at home?

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