5 Top Tips to Survive Lockdown 3.0
Just when you think we’ve all suffered enough as we leave 2020 behind us…. 2021 brings a whole new high of COVID-19 cases, a fresh lockdown and in our case, two closed clinics and a load of clients stuck in their homes gradually developing stiff backs/necks.
We’ve been able to remain open in our Manchester clinic and a temporary site in Warrington but for those who struggle to access these locations we’ve been helping a lot of people out with online appointments. These online sessions have been crucial for our patients who are already in pain, to help relieve their symptoms and enhance their livelihoods. So we thought we would offer some simple advice. We recommend making some subtle changes to your daily routines to help avoid pain in the first place. As Sun Tzu once said in the art of war; “the best defence is a good offence”. So rather than sitting in your un-comfy chair for 8 hours+ per day waiting for the back pain to pounce, a pre-emptive strike is required! These tips will help with this;
Move throughout the day as much as possible. Granted this can be difficult in the English winter but still very doable. I love the quote “what gets measured, gets improved”. If you have a smart watch or a phone that tracks steps and activity levels get it out, look back on the last week and make a note of your average. Now, whatever the number is I want you to try and beat it every week, slowly up your activity levels, try and hit that nice rounded number of 10,000 steps at the very least!
2. CHANGE POSITION
The only bad posture is the posture we spend too much time in, if that’s slouched and we’re not extending then that’s probably less than ideal, likewise if it’s extended like a House Guard and you can’t flex then that also isn’t great. In an ideal word I’d advise people to have multiple workstations if you work from home, spend an hour or two at each before switching to avoid being in the exact same position for a long time. If this is not feasible, then I’d like you to make an effort to get up out of your seat at every opportunity to expose your body to a different stimulus. Every time you take a call get up and walk, have a glass of water you need to refill every hour, I had one client recently who on the hour mark would do 15 repetitions of a different exercise… Loved this one!
3. EXERCISE REGULARLY
I’ve advised you to move more but this is different, this is scheduled exercise time in your day to actively raise your heart rate and expose the body to some hard work. This could be a Physio Lounge Pilates session or it could be an online workout with our partners at David Lloyd or Studio 1 Fitness. Whatever it is you do I will advise the following;
- Exercise at least 3x a week
- Try to raise your heat rate (if it is safe to do so)
- Do something that you like/enjoy!
This final point is so vital, if you hate running, then I don’t think running is for you. Experiment with different activities and stick to what you enjoy. I’ve also found that actively scheduling time out of your week for exercise, holds people more accountable to do it and makes it a lot easier.
One final quote to throw at you, “Your Health is your Wealth”. Mental health is probably the most important factor in this. I’m a Physiotherapist so not trained to be helping people with any mental health issues, if you are suffering then please seek help from someone trained to do so (add links). But I’ll share some things that help me:
- Do things you enjoy! Make sure you’re making time for you, do things you enjoy and you receive fulfilment from.
- Make time for loved ones! We’re so lucky in this age to have the likes of Zoom, skype, facetime, whats app… they’re all amazing ways to keep in touch with friends and family.
- Sleep! Recently I’ve discovered what a great nights sleep can do for me after reading ‘Why we Sleep’ by Matthew Walker (Highly recommend!). I try and aim for 8 hours a night and do what I can to give myself the best opportunity to achieve this, such as no caffeine after 1pm, no bright lights after 9pm and investing in a good mattress and pillows.
You’re far more likely to injure yourself if you’re stressed and not feeling yourself.
5.LISTEN TO YOUR BODY
Finally, I’ll leave you with this nugget of gold that I know for a fact a lot of us struggle with (myself included). Self-evaluate yourself each day, jot down how much energy you feel you have, if you feel tight or sore, if you’re tired and how your mood is. Chances are if all these are low then you need to do more to unwind, de-stress and make time for yourself. Conversely, if you’re feeling happy, energetic and supple then it’s a great day to smash that workout and exceed your step count!