Every year, millions of us sign up for some kind of physical challenge, whether that’s something as simple as deciding to run to and from work or joining a rugby team, or for some specific event; a triathlon, a stage of the Tour de France, or a Tough Mudder event perhaps.
We know that our chances of completing (or surviving) the goal we’ve set are vastly improved if we prepare the muscles and energy systems we’ll need with exercise and training specifically designed for our event or sport.
While it’s admirable that we’ll spend so much time and effort preparing for something that will take a few hours – maybe a day or so – of our time, it’s strange that we do so little to help us meet the single biggest physical challenge of our lives – everyday life.
Let’s face it; 21st century life isn’t good for us. We’re time-poor, we’re stressed, we’re sedentary (even the most disciplined exercisers spend most of their waking hours sitting down). And we spend most of our day in a slouched forward-flexed position that our bodies were simply not designed for. (I’m doing it as I type this). Our cars, sofas and TVs encourage this same flexed forward, weak posture. This causes tightness through our chest and neck, weakness and stiffness through our upper back – which often causes the lower back to take the load. And rather than have full natural movement through our whole spine, we start to move through just two or three vertebrae – both inefficient and damaging.
We under use some key postural muscles particularly the rhomboids and the lower trapezius in our upper backs and over use others – the pectorals and upper trapezius muscles. Imbalance is inevitable; pain and injury are likely outcomes (no wonder that 85% of UK adults suffer with back and neck pain).
We marvel at sportsmen’s willingness to invest time every day to ensure that their bodies are fit for purpose. But maybe we should take that mind-set into the way we live, and ensure our bodies are fit for life, and ready to compete in the modern world.
Here at TenPilates we deliver workouts designed to address the underlying issues of modern life. Our classes are specifically designed to strengthen our weaker muscles, stretch our tight muscles and correct postural imbalances – while also delivering an intense, time-efficient full body workout. (And because they’re upbeat, energised and demand full focus, they’re also great stress-busters.)