Injuries can be detrimental to your chosen activities, so it is always a good idea to check yourself. These basic motions provide a good starting point, and should all be easy and pain free.
Should you experience discomfort during any of the exercises, you can work on and improve your range of motion by repeating the movement five to ten times within the pain-free range. Findings of pain may also be a good indicator that you should be making an appointment with someone who can help.
1. Reach. Standing, reach your arms up (three seconds up, three seconds down). Notice any discomfort in your neck, shoulder or lower back.
2. Bend. Start standing with your hands on your thighs and feet hip width apart. Bend at your waist and take three seconds to slide your hands down towards your feet. Go back to standing if you feel any discomfort in your lower back. You may find that squeezing your bum cheeks on the way up can decrease lower back discomfort.
3. Twist. Standing with your hands at your head, take three seconds to twist to the left and three seconds to twist to the right. Notice if you can twist farther in one direction or if you feel any lower back discomfort. Again, squeezing your bum cheeks during the motion may decrease lower back discomfort.
4. Look. Sit as tall as you can and take three seconds to look left, three to the right, three to look up and three to look down. Notice if your shoulders are rounded forwards (they should be even with your ears) and stop if you have any neck discomfort.
5. Sit. Start standing beside a chair with your feet hip width and take three seconds to sit and then three seconds to stand. Notice what your knees are doing (they should stay in line with your toes as you sit and stand) and what your heels are doing (you should be able to keep them down as you sit). Stop if you experience any knee, ankle or lower back pain.
6. Balance. Standing with your hands on your hips, lift one foot off the ground and hold your position for five seconds.
7. Stand. Place your heels, hips, shoulders, head, elbows and hands on a wall and check your posture. Notice any areas that feel strained in this position.
Self-checking can help you determine areas you may need to stretch, strengthen or rehabilitate for optimal performance. Stay safe and pain free these holidays!