It’s that time again, isn’t it? Spring has indeed…
Nope! In 2017 we shall continue the process of avoiding all mattress-based clichés in an attempt not to sound like every other promotional campaign out there the moment someone sneezes at the slightest bloom of a snake’s head fritillary.
This month, therefore, shall not be about how you can take your training outside now the vernal equinox has literally brightened up our mornings (you can refer to last year’s blog for all that). Instead, I have summoned an inner David Frost (ironic, considering the seasonal shift) by demonstrating an occupational to flex my journalistic muscle and bring you top tips on flexibility how to remain flexible.
Suffice to say, the ensuing tête-à-tête doesn’t involve former US Presidents. And while it won’t garner a worldwide audience of 45 million people (although a combined Beaconsfield and Gerrards Cross population of roughly 20,000 is a modest start) nor prompt levels of Watergate scandal admissions, you might just learn a bit. Consider this “Flexigate” with Drabble/Surridge – Chris Surridge, an ex-colleague and now local sports and remedial massage therapist who quite rightly champions the need for what he describes as the “forgotten component” in daily exercise. Through the gymhole we go…
Posture: not preposterous!
“Incorporating flexibility to your lifestyle – be that static stretches or manipulating the tissues through massage – is imperative,” says Chris. “Quite simply, it will positively impact both the way your body feels and the productivity of your training. That means muscle recovery, an increased range of motion, more power, less aches, less pains and thus the prevention of injury.”
Naturally, this all leads to one core fundamental: good posture. “Ultimately our posture is affected by the movements we perform through our jobs, sports and hobbies,” Chris explains. “These movements increase the use of certain muscles which, without stretching, can create imbalances within our system.”
Such imbalances can extend to deeper problems you may have never contemplated before. For example, an involuntary slouch in front of a computer, a TV or even in your car will more often than not have a negative effect on breathing capabilities. Says Chris: “Without realising, some people can be slouched in the same position for more than 10 hours per day. This gives the diaphragm little space for manoeuvre and an over-reliance on the smaller upper chest muscles to form the basis of your breathing. Because these muscles are not designed for continuous, long-term use, the result is more shallow breathing, which in turn leads to fatigue.”
“Having the desired muscles released can dramatically increase those breathing capabilities and in turn maintain your energy levels.”
Swing when you’re stretching
He’s not just referring to the way we sit, either. Conventional, everyday movements (putting your shoes on, taking a shirt off or reaching for the TV remote) and those more exercise-specific (squatting, lunging or twisting) can all be compromised if flexibility isn’t at its peak. “Stretching the necessary muscles and tissues will encourage more freedom within your body, which makes the smallest of movements easier. This then impacts the bigger, more complex movements.”
Just like a golf swing, for example. “A number of people opt for a heavy lifting regime in a bid to create more power within their stroke, but it doesn’t have to be as intense as that,” adds Chris. “Instead, by increasing movement through the entire range of motion, you’re able to increase power. More muscle fibre is available to use and, rather than be overzealous with the club, you can rely on technique to create a stronger drive. You’ll also prevent the likelihood of sustaining an injury at the tee.”
Pain? Back off!
And therein lies another key element in sustaining flexibility: injury prevention. As Chris explains, “Placing force through a joint or muscle not in its optimal position will result in an uneven distribution of that muscle and injury invariably occurring. By regularly stretching to release unnecessary tension and restrictions within the tissues, you can reduce the risk of injury because the muscles are able to move in the position they were meant to.”
The same applies for those tight shoulders, that dodgy hip and uncomfortable lower back pain you – and an alarming 80 per cent of the British population – have been experiencing of late, too. “Pain is generally the end product of an issue elsewhere in our system,” Chris adds. “In the short term, treatment will ease that pain. However, you need to have a tailor-made stretching routine in place to ensure that pain doesn’t reoccur.”
“Short and tight muscles not only impact upon our physical movements – they also impact upon our mental state. To truly remain balanced in body and mind, it’s time to get flexible!”
And so the Surridge has spoken. Until next month, it’s hello, good evening and welcome!
For further information on Chris and his flexibly fun practice, please visit cjsmuscletherapy.co.uk.