As I write todays blog the Rugby World Cup is coming to its final weeks. The world cup favourites, New Zealand, practice yoga regularly in their fitness training. Nonu a consistent player of the team credits his form and lack of injuries to yoga, he has practiced yoga for over 5 years and does weekly sessions as part of his training programme. Wales have used Hot Yoga in preparation for recent matches, whereas domestic clubs use it regularly to help promote recovery.
Yoga has lots of benefits to rugby players in both injury prevention and match day performance. Yoga is proven to create length in the muscles worked during practice, enabling the muscle to become stronger and more efficient. In performance terms short muscles are compromised and inefficient in contracting due to their inherent tightness. Short muscles are also more likely to become injured too due to weakness at end ranges of movements. The lengthening of muscles that occurs within yoga moves not only helps with flexibility and reducing tightness it also enables the muscle to be strong through its full range of movement as there are no vulnerable weaknesses or reduced movement. Yoga can also help strengthen the core, making the body more efficient at transferring power produced in the muscles into an attempted movement such as a sidestep or tackle. It is also important in rugby to be able to withstand both external forces of other players and internal forces of twisting and turning during play. A strong core will help assist in this as well as help prevent players suffering with back pain.
The Rugby world also use Pilates as a key part of their training programme. The Scottish world cup team use pilates as pre-habilitation, by strengthening known weaknesses they are preventing injuries using pilates rather than having to rehabilitate after an injury has occurred. The advantage of including Pilates in a training programme is that it works on strengthening the deeper muscles of the body that normal training exercises wouldn’t recruit. For example, pilates strengthens the shoulder stabilising muscles deep in the joint, making these muscles strong and stable will help prevent shoulder injuries and allow the bigger muscles to become stronger.
If you want to find out how Yoga or Pilates can help you then get in touch!
Don’t let your fitness slip over christmas, use short interval workouts using body weight exercises that can be done anywhere, see Video below.
14th November was World diabetes day, diabetes has been on the increase with 3.9 million people in the UK currently suffering with diabetes, this figure is estimated to rise to 5 million by 2025. 56% of those with diabetes are men and 44% are women, 10% of those with diabetes have type 1 diabetes and 90% have type 2 diabetes. The risk of developing type 2 diabetes can be reduced with lifestyle changes, such as weight management, inactivity and nutrition, obesity accounts for 80 – 85% risk of developing type 2 diabetes. 57% of men and 67% of women in the UK are either overweight or obese and only 39% men and 29% of women are meeting recommended daily activity levels. The number of children under the age of 19 with diabetes is also increasing with the figure estimated at 31.500. The peak age of children being diagnosed with type 1 diabetes is 9-14 years of age and 9 – 16 years of age for type 2 diabetes.
Diabetes can lead to other health issues such as cardio vascular diseases, kidney disease, eye disease, amputation, depression, neuropathy, sexual dysfunction, dementia, complications during pregnancy and reduced life expectancy.
The cost of diabetes to the NHS is £10 billion per year, diabetes patients account for 1 in 7 taken hospital beds and 1 in 20 diabetics incur social services costs. 10% of the NHS budget is spent on diabetes every year.
I regularly have new mums complain to me in class they they are suffering with back pain either in their lower back or just below the shoulder blades. The 3 main causes of this back pain are; poor lifting technique, always holding baby on the same hip and poor posture when feeding.
When lifting baby its really important to engage your core and use your glutes to reduce the strain on the lower back, check out the video to see how. https://youtu.be/Sfes2-dKVOg. Engaging the core when lifting will also help prevent further abdominal separation and help to build strength in the abdominals. Strengthening the glutes and core reduces the amount of work the back has to do therefore reducing the strain placed upon the spine, meaning less back pain.
Try to make a conscious effort to alternate which side you hold baby on and when feeding place a pillow under baby so that you don’t round your shoulders and hunch over. Stretching the chest and strengthening the upper back with exercises such as shoulder squeezes and pilates based upper back extension exercises will help reduce pain in the upper back and shoulders.