Sometimes it’s the small, overlooked elements of an exercise routine that leave you with permanent damage. And at times figuring out what is going wrong can be like finding a needle in a haystack because these factors don’t cause immediate pain.
But before you start to stress about this, bear in mind that a little analysis on your part can go a long ways to keeping you healthy throughout your exercise career.
So here are some random facts that you should know to prevent potential damage to your body:
1. Excessive use of high heels can damage your posture: By excessive, we’re talking about daily use here. However, if you already have a tight posterior chain (very common in women with desk jobs) even moderate use can potentially cause issues.
You see, the problem with high heels is that they contract and tighten your calf muscles. This in turn can alter the natural curve of your lower back.
2. On average, women have different angles between their shoulders and wrists: Of course, this is in comparison to men. This means that when doing arm toning exercises like bicep curl movements, you should try to use an ez-bar as often as possible and never work through wrist pain. At the very least, experiment with different grips until you find the one that works.
3. Tight muscles can permanently alter normal movement: First, you get a tight muscle from overuse or poor posture. Second, the tight muscle forms a knot. Third, inelastic collagen (think “stiff saran wrap”) covers the knot and alters the way said muscle moves.
Take home point: address tight muscles as soon as you become aware of them. The more you wait, the more degeneration occurs.
4. You can stretch every day: Unlike intense resistance training and cardiovascular training, flexibility training can be done on a daily basis. You see, stretching causes minimal damage to your body which in turn allows for much higher frequencies of sessions.
And most women should be stretching every day because of sedentary living.
5. Step-up machines should be used in moderation: This is mostly a concern for women that have desk jobs. When you sit at a desk for prolonged periods of time your hip flexors become tight. And these muscles pull on your lower back. Now when you use lots of step-up machines, you further tighten these already tight muscles.
The end result can be severe lower back pain if this “hip flexor tightening “ protocol isn’t stopped.
6. One tight muscle or injured joint will spread its dysfunction: All the systems and components in your body are interconnected, this is just how things work. Thus, if one joint or muscle is having problems, other structures will pick up the slack. The main issue here is that these other structures are NOT made to pick up said slack for very long.
It’s analogous to having a weaker second string team take on the work of a stronger first string team-it may work for a while, but eventually those second stringers are going to give out.
Now I just noticed that this article has somewhat of a “scare tactic” tone. This really isn’t my intention. I simply want you to appreciate how small things, if left unchecked, can cause major issues down the road.
The good news is that it only takes a couple minutes of analysis to make sure you aren’t doing anything in your daily routine that can cause potential issues in the future when you least expect it!