I read that if you are traveling alone and plan to hike, check out what the Sierra Club is doing in the area. So when I was planning my visit to see my son race his mountain bike in Moab, I discovered a Sierra Club service trip in Canyonlands volunteering for the National Park Service.
Go to https://content.sierraclub.org/outings/trip-type/service-volunteer to see what other trips they have. I highly recommend them. We camped for a week, had our food cooked for us, built fences, took wonderful hikes in uncrowded areas of the park, had campfire conversations, and enjoyed working and socializing together as a group of 15.
But why I am including this in my blog is because my body did just fine digging 30” holes in sandstone manually, carrying awkward and sometimes heavy loads of pine and juniper, lifting ice chests full of beer, and scrambling on rocks. I am no spring chicken, but my body did not suffer.
I added a bit to my training a month before the trip and it paid off. Normally I swim twice a week, walk or jog slowly 4-5 times a week and do weights twice a week for about 30 minutes. I added:
3 sets of 10 squats with a kettle bell
3 sets of 10 lunges on each side
3 sets of 5 single straight leg hand touch on each side
Because my legs were stronger, I had better posture and very little discomfort in the back and knees. The gym workouts do pay off!
Check out the Sierra Club and stay strong my friends.
Simply stretching 3 muscle groups, with your spine in neutral, will help you decrease wear and tear on your lumbar spine and can relieve and prevent sacroiliac issues.
From the last blog you learned that awareness and the “middle way” or neutral position of the spine prevents wear and tear. But if you have tight and/or asymmetrical lower extremity muscles, neutral is tough to maintain.
Just do these three stretches at least 30 seconds once a day in neutral spine trying to get the left and right equally long, and that will help allow your body to heal itself and you will feel better sooner and prevent injury Voila!.
Let me know if you have questions.
Taking care of your back and Buddhism have two things in common, awareness and finding the middle way. For your spine to last a lifetime with less wear and tear, it works to know the position of your spine and, if you are load bearing or expect to be in that position for more than a few minutes, adjust into the middle position or “neutral”.
The bones in our lower spine allow for mostly forward and backward bending, or flexion and extension. When you flex there is pressure on the discs such that they can start deforming onto a nerve. When you extend, the bones move closer together and that can lead to arthritis. When you are lying down and stretching it is fine to flex and extend to the to the limits of your range of motion. But when sitting, standing, walking, lifting and such, the best place for the spine to be is neutral.
The first thing is to be aware. The second thing is to adjust if needed and if you are going to sit for a while, you can use the tilt of the seat or a back support so your muscles can relax. They will anyway after a few minutes!
Some folks learn how to find neutral using a “pelvic tilt” pretty fast. Others take longer. Sometimes I tape the back so people know when they are out of neutral. It is essential to learn this or your back won’t heal no matter how many massages or ice packs or pills you take.
So when I see patients, it’s one of the first things I teach. All our trainers know how to teach neutral spine too and will reinforce it when you train with them.
Cheers! Off for a hike.
Every Thursday and Saturday we donate 10% of all smoothie sales to local groups. This quarter we honor Celebrate Los Osos! Find out what they do at http://www.celebratelososos.org/ Last quarter's money went to the Community Foundation of Estero Bay who helps keep the children in our area active. Find them at http://www.communityfoundationesterobay.org/
Exercise is preventative medicine, physically and mentally. You know you feel better when you exercise regularly. But why not just exercise outdoors when it is so beautiful here? Please do! Nature boosts our mood and immune system and you'll find me outdoors most the time.
So if I like to exercise outdoors why have a gym? People! We smile at you and notice your progress. We motivate you and you inspire us! Gym cardio, good for the heart, can be regulated so you can challenge your heart and you don't have to worry about cars, dogs, stop lights, roots, rocks, cliffs, and sunburn. When done properly, weights can stimulate muscle growth and keep bones strong in just a short amount of time. All of our classes help with flexibility and socializing is good for you too! Expert advice is always available AND we do our best to make it fun.
I can honestly say I'd rather be surfing, biking, or hiking rather than lifting weights. But lifting just 20-30 minutes twice a week protects my joints so I can play injury free.
Why do you go to a gym, or not?