Are your New Year Resolutions looking rocky?

Did you make a New Year Resolution to get fitter, lose weight or start exercising? January is the peak time for joining a gym or signing up to a weight-loss programme. However many of us find ourselves flagging by the end of the month (if not before!) and our resolutions start to look decidedly rocky. One of the reasons people give up on exercise can be pains or strains. According to the British Chiropractic Association, exercise is the trigger for 30% of those experiencing back or neck pain. It’s vital to be well-prepared before starting an regime, especially if you are new to physical activity, and to be appropriately taught or supervised whilst doing it. If you stay pain-free, you are far more likely to enjoy exercising and stick to your new regime. Here are some top tips to get the most from exercise and minimise the risk of injury: •    Speak to your GP first, to check that there are no medical reasons why you should not exercise or increase your activity. •    Remember to warm up and warm down before and after any physical activity, to minimise the risk of strain or injury. Start with something less strenuous like walking or jogging and finish with some light stretches. •    Keep hydrated by drinking plenty of water before, during and after exercise – this will help your muscles work more  efficiently and will reduce aches and pains after exercise. •    Make sure you wear comfortable clothing.  Tight clothing could restrict your movement and lead to injury. •    Wear appropriate footwear for the type of exercise you are doing,...

Back in the Garden

Although we are still in the depths of winter, signs of spring are beginning to appear, with bulbs emerging from the soil and buds forming on the trees. For many of us, with spring comes the urge to get back in the garden. However, as well as resulting in beautifully borders, gardening can also cause aches, pains and strains, especially in the lower back and shoulders. Some new research has just been published by Coventry University, along with the Royal Horticultural Society, which used some innovative techniques more usually found on the set of a Hollywood blockbuster than a research lab. The aim was to discover how best to prevent or minimise the damage that can be done by gardening. The team at the university used ‘motion capture’ (the technique used to create life-like characters such as Gollum in Lord of the Rings films) to record exactly how the body moves when digging. A computer programme then created an animated 3-D model of the human skeleton, major joints and muscles associated with movement, enabling the researchers to study the wear and strain on the body. The top tips to emerge from the research were: When digging, use a regular, repetitive technique rather than erratic movements Bend with your knees rather than your back where possible Avoid reaching, bending or stretching forwards. Instead work with your spade or fork close to your body Try not to twist as you dig or lift. Turn your whole body instead You can read more about the research here This clip from BBC Breakfast News shows how it was done: How Hollywood can help reduce your...