This article first appeared on Sue Falsone’s website on July 2, 2015. Falsone most recently was Head of Athletic Training and Sport Performance with US Soccer’s Men’s National Team. Here she shares her tips on making the most of your workout when your time is limited. Share this article with patients or use it as a reminder for yourself – there’s always something else that gets prioritized above personal care!
My family is always asking me for simple ways to feel better. Life is busy. It’s hard to get workouts in, difficult to eat healthy, and tough to take care of yourself. Here are some simple things you can do throughout your day to reduce your injury potential.
If you have NO extra time during your day:
- You can always work on your posture! Your spine should have natural primary and secondary curves. Your head should be a natural extension of your spine, with your ears aligned with your shoulders. Your sternum should be lifted, with your shoulders relaxed so your hands are pointing in toward your body, not toward the back of you. Your belly should be slightly tight with your pelvic floor lifted (like you are stopping your urine flow) to help engage your abs. Knees should be soft. You should feel all four corners of your feet on the floor.
- By focusing on your posture, you will place your ligaments, joints and muscles in a good position to decrease stress.
If you only have 5 to 10 minutes during your day:
- You can use the foam roll, baseball, tennis ball, massage stick, etc., to work out all those “knots” in your mid and low back, shoulders, hips, thighs and bottom of the feet. The more supple you make your muscles, the less they will hurt and the more you’ll be able to tolerate soft tissue massage.
If you have 20 minutes during your day:
- You can work on the “prehab” sections of your take-home programs. You can alternate an upper body prehab day (YTWL, and rotator cuff work) with a lower body prehab day (side lying hip series, or miniband work). Perform 1-2 sets of 10-12 of each exercise just to activate the stabilizing muscles of your shoulders, trunk and hips. Maintaining this foundation of stability throughout the year will help you sustain your power output by having a stable base from which your muscles can pull.
If you have a day off:
- Go get a manicure and pedicure! Your hands and feet are the most under-treated parts of your body and yet they are the most abused. Some people who study reflexology believe every body part can be traced to a spot on your hands or feet; therefore working these areas can have total body effects. Treat your hands and feet nicely to reduce stress and decrease pain all over.
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