Stretching. Ugh. NOT one of my strong points. Unless I'm teaching a Body Flow class or participating in some sort of yoga, doing light stretching on my own isn't something I remember to do regularly. But I recently developed tendinitis in my hip and it's just not going to get better without regular stretching sessions. I've been seeing a physical therapist for a few months to help me work through my hip injury. She is WONDERFUL and has taught me so much about the importance of stretching, how to stretch, and other pieces of information related to body movement. I want to share some of that information with you!
- The hip tendinitis on my right side caused my body to favor my left side, which in turn weakened my right side! Working out in front of a mirror could have helped me with this long before I discovered my issue, because I would have been able to see my imbalance in the mirror. I was teaching a lot at the time (NOT in front of a mirror) and didn't see that my form was compromised. Learn from me: use a mirror to check form! I know it can be uncomfortable to stare at yourself in a mirror while exercising, but good form is SO important. It's worth a little discomfort to your ego to make sure that your form is on pointe and you prevent injuries.
- Small injuries can turn into big injuries without attention. This was another thing I didn't do correctly. I had a nagging soreness in my right hip and assumed it would go away on its own. Well, during that "wait time" I was compensating, thus making the injury worse in the meantime. So listen to your body. If it doesn't feel right after a few days, IB Profin, ice, heat, stretching, etc. you should probably make an appointment to see someone who knows what they're talking about. In the town I live in, sports medicine is free with insurance so you can pop on over anytime you need to check something out :)
- Ice can do wonders. This is so crazy to me, but honestly guys, 10 minutes of ice a day on an injured muscle can make a huge difference. I am such a baby when it comes to ice (remember how I feel about being cold?!), but the ice really causes any swelling to go down which leads to comfort and full range of motion.
- When you are injured, it's really important to pull back a bit. This one might SEEM obvious, but it's really something that is quite challenging for the majority of people. We are STUBBORN and when we're used to being active, pulling back is TOUGH. But remember that it's only temporary. And if you don't pull back, your restrictions might become permanent. Think of it as a fun challenge: find exercises you can do without affecting the hurt area of your body. For me, fast-tempo squats (like the ones I do in classes) are no bueno. They just move too quickly for me to sit back and down and hold proper form. Figure out what move or moves are hurting you and omit them from your routine for awhile. Remember, it's likely not a permanent restriction.
Injuries are no fun. But I do feel like my latest injury is serving as a wake-up call for me to be a little more gentle on my body and give it some solid stretching before and after my workouts. My PT is recommending 10 minutes prior and 10 minutes after. This is a lot for someone who typically only stretches in a choreographed stretching class! But I want this body to last me a LONG time, so I'm going to listen to my PT and listen to my body, and give it some love. I hope you do the same!!
Enjoy your Valentine's Day tomorrow!!!