"Preventative Maintenance" (Blog #160)
Taking a pill after you get a headache only masks symptoms, but it doesn't address the underlying issue. Were you dehydrated? Did you get poor sleep? Are your stress levels too high? A good analogy I heard recently was, "If your gas light comes on in your car, do you unscrew the gas light bulb, or do you go put gas in your car?" The answer is is pretty obvious, but most of us today are unscrewing the light bulb to simply mask the real issues.
Watch TV for an hour and you will see fifty commercials all pushing a drug for you to get skinny, or get rich, or stop headaches, or get rid of gout, etc. But how often do you hear about things that will prevent these issues in the first place?! The harsh answer is that companies make BILLIONS of dollars off of sick, overweight, out of shape people. If you're healthy you're no good to these companies trying to get to your hard earned money. Now I'm not suggesting that ALL pills are bad and useless. I know science is making great leaps and bounds on a daily basis to help fight off some horrible diseases, I'm talking about the ones that we know how to prevent.
Going back to the basics of drinking water, getting proper sleep and making daily exercise a priority will not only increase the amount of years that you're on this earth, but it will increase the QUALITY of your life on this earth. Last week when I was watching the Eagles game, a commercial came on that showed a bunch of obese, older gentlemen chugging beers and eating nachos, wings and cheesesteaks until they were about to explode. This was followed right up by a sales pitch of a magic pill that would get rid of all that indigestion immediately. Nothing was mentioned about the real problem though; these men were over weight, sedentary (I'm sure), drank too much beer, and ate like shit. The pill is a scam and a short term fix! The goal for these big companies is that you maintain your shitty lifestyle so that they can keep feeding you these pills and sit back and get rich.
I have another idea for the human population though, why not prevent these issues in the first place?! We know how to prevent most of these aliments, we just don't put the time or effort in to do so. When you are always eating pills and always complaining of something being wrong, or if you're always sick and calling out of work, something has to change, and a pill isn't the answer. Getting off of the couch and getting your ass into the gym and outside in the park for some fresh air and movement is a great start. Then take a look at the fuel that you're putting into your body, this is the biggest factor that will determine your overall health.
When it comes to taking preventative measures for your health, sleep and fuel aren't the only important things to worry about it. Proper movements every day will also save you a life of pain and discomfort. In the video below, I run through a very quick and shortened version of some of things that would help you prevent most back, knee and hip pains. These simple (but very effective) movements will absolutely help you move, feel and look better. Give these a shot everyday, but especially before every workout. There are many variations that would work, but here are a few of my go-to's for my team...
Completing these a few times a week will start letting your body move like it's suppose to move and feel like it's suppose to feel. Most of us take for granted the ability to do the most menial tasks, like standing on one leg with no shoe on and reach for the ground. Most people can't do this! Can You?
Like I said, there are many ways to go about moving better. I'm just showing you our way...
Golf Ball on Feet: Releases tight fascia around the muscle bellies / Can rid your body of shin splints and some knee pain / Feel good / Increases blood flow / Wakes up those proprioceptors, which allows your body to FEEL the world around itself.
Mini Band Abduction & Marching: These mini bands are key when it comes to "activating" the Glutes and Hip Flexors. A great way to get those muscles ready for battle (training). Strong Hips = No Knee Pain.
Band Pull Aparts: This works on the shoulder blades in retraction and strengthens those postural muscles.
Band Shoulder Mobility: The band allows more freedom than a dowel rod would / This helps open up the thoracic spine/shoulder capsule so your lumbar doesn't move instead.
Dumbbell Scapular Mobility: This is a must if you ever want to be able to safely press overhead / What a great way to work on strengthening the scapula upward and downward rotators.
Single Leg Glute Bridge: Keeping one knee in your chest, drive your hips up and squeeze your butt / this really works the glutes unilaterally and will prevent too much lumbar extension / Great way to fire up those glutes.
Hip External Rotator Stretch: Increase hip mobility with this simple gem.
Thoracic Mobility: Fetal Position / Knees in Chest / Open up your thoracic spine as you rotate and try to lay both shoulder blades on the ground / This allows the t-spine to move and keep the lumbar stable.
Stick Roller: Roll out any knots or trigger points in the body / You can roll everything, but calves, quads and hamstrings are my go-to's.
Foam Roller: Adductor Rolling / Possibly the best thing you can do to prevent low back pain / Your Adductors get tight and pull on the pelvic / They force it into an anterior pelvic tilt and you chronically get low back pain. Try this and get ready to feel the trigger points / Dig them out aggressively!
Foam Roller: Glute Medius / Glute Minimus / I.T Band / Externally rotate the down hip and hook the ankle / Roll out the "Glutes" / It's brutal but amazing / You will stand up and feel better.
Single Leg Reaches: Barefoot / Increase the proprioceptor activation levels / Contralateral (opposite) leg and hand / Soften the knee / Hinge at the hip / Reach for the ground and repeat / All of those little ankle muscle you've never felt before will fire up with a few sets of 10 reaches on each leg.
The body is the most amazing machine out there, it's your job to take care of it. Move well, and move often!