HOW TO PICK ‘LOW HANGING FRUITS’ AND INVESTING IN YOUR HEALTH AND PERFORMANCE BANK ACCOUNT
At PROmotion we place a large emphasis on maintaining a holistic view of your health.
Often when injuries arise they can be a combination of not just biomechanical factors but a multitude of many things such as poor sleep hygiene, stress, and exercise management.
For example, lower back pain is a common musculoskeletal injury whereby the most innocuous action can cause a high level of pain that doesn’t always seem to correlate to the ‘mechanism of injury’. We often see people coming in with high levels of pain from simple movements such as reaching for something, getting out of a chair or bending down to pick something up. Sound familiar? You’re definitely not alone.
Looking at the bigger picture there are often other factors identifiable that can be a larger contributing factor than you realise. Once you add up all of these small things, it’s sometimes not surprising your body can be exposed to higher likely of injury.
These factors can be thought of as your health and performance ‘bank account’, and by making key deposits into yours, you can subsequently not only enhance performance and improve health, but will also reduce the likelihood of injury.
Some main examples of ‘key deposits’ include:
Sleep duration & hygiene
Sleep is one of the most important factors contributing to health, performance and injury. Chronic lack of sleep has been shown to significantly reduce likelihood of injury- with one study demonstrating 6 hours of sleep chronically can lead to 75% increased risk of injury. Conversely, getting more than 8 hours at night reduces injury likelihood significantly. During this time, your resting body repairs and rebuilds muscle tissues, recovers from the days’ activities and reduces inflammation.
Sleep hygiene refers to good sleeping habits to enhance the quality of your sleep. Simple things such as getting a regular bed routine, avoiding caffeine & nicotine 4-6hours before bed and avoiding non-sleep related activities in bed can make a big difference to your quality of sleep!
As per the PROmotion ethos- movement is the best medicine! Getting in regular exercise has profound affects both mentally and physically. The WHO guidelines recommend that adults between 18-64 should be getting in at least 150 minutes of moderate intensity aerobic physical activity throughout the week or do at least 75 minutes of vigorous-intensity aerobic physical activity, or an equivalent combination of both.
A well-balanced diet in combination with the other factors enables a balanced ‘performance bank’. Nutrition guidelines recommended enjoying consumption of a combination of vegetables, fruit, grain foods, lean meats and poultry and dairy each day. Conversely, ensure foods such as sweets, processed and fried foods and sugary drinks are enjoyed in moderation. A good perspective to adopt is that quality nutrition is the fuel to drive your health and performance bank.
With most people leading very busy lifestyles, keeping your energy balance ‘in check’ is pivotal. To avoid burning out, ensure that balance is maintained through down time, rest and time spent doing the things you love!
Other key deposits include stress management, staying motivated, and ensuring you are always continually being mentally stimulated and challenged. It is when your withdrawals of these deposits exceed how much you’ve deposited into your account that you expose yourself to injury- so always continue to invest!
Another component of your health and performance bank are the ‘hidden charges’ that sometimes throw off your balance and increase likelihood of injury. These can include:
· Poor performance
· Work/academic pressure
· Relationship stress
· Distracting commitments disrupting balance
Be sure to consider these hidden charges in how it affects your balance. Often a hidden charge has a flow on affect to your capacity to place key deposits into your balance. For example, during a period of travel sleep hygiene and quality can be hugely disrupted, as well as nutritional quality.
Another way to view these simple factors are as your ‘low hanging fruits’ on the tree of life. We can often get so caught up in the latest diet trend, exercise fad or continue to try to pick the highest fruits off our tree of life we forget to build our foundation through what seemingly are easy and low risk fruits to pick. If you consistently pick low hanging fruits, you will be amazed with how prosperous your crop can become.
So next time you begin to feel a ‘niggle’ for no apparent reason- be sure to reflect upon and check your health and performance back account and you might just be surprised with the balance!
This blog post was put together by our clinic ex-athlete Katie Hartshorn who has recently joined our Physio team! Click here for Katie's full bio.