The Best Offense Is a Good Defense (3 Tips for Muscle Movement Dominance)
We’ve all heard the old adage “The best offense is a good defense”. When it comes to the human body, this reigns true. Each movement you make constitutes your offense and preventative self-care is the ultimate defense. Trying to find a balance between the two is a daily challenge but seems especially difficult as we approach the holiday season. Achieving this harmony is critical to your mental and physical health. Here’s how to improve that balance in three easy steps.
- Assess what your offensive line looks like.
Figure out your movement formula. What does your average day entail? Work, commuting, children, homework, furry friends, working out, laundry, food shopping, cooking, and so much more. Each task you perform requires the use of large and small muscle groups. You move seamlessly from one activity to the next, but your body pays a price. Do you stand a lot or are you sitting? Are you in front of a computer screen or driving carpool? Each activity stresses certain muscles in the body.
Here’s my average day: Up before sunrise and asleep hours after sunset. I sprint between the gym, my computer, walking the dog, seeing clients, back to the computer, second round at the gym or a trip to the golf range, then back to the computer for an evening session of work and cooking in between.
- Anticipate the areas of the body that will be most used.
Based on your daily game plan, figure out the body regions that will have greater stress because of your movements. If you are looking at a screen much of the day and sitting, you will be prone to lower back and neck tightness. If you are on your feet for extended periods of time serving food, teaching, or chasing children, you will be more prone to lower back, hip, and knee tension. For some, lack of movement (being sedentary) is the catalyst for discomfort. Our lives tend to be ergonomically unfriendly, but acknowledging that is a big step forward.
I hit the gym early so my initial focus is on the areas I’m about to train. If I’m working legs that day, legs, lower back, and feet are most utilized. Then, I sit at a computer for long period of time, which angers my hips and neck. These areas are therefore next in the pecking order.
- Execute the best defense.
Target the body regions that you use or ail you the most. You’re worth the time. Be proactive with your muscle and joint self-care and your body will thank you for it. You race against the clock every day, but 5-10 minutes of attention can alleviate tension throughout your body at the beginning and end of your day. This can be achieved with simple, passive movements, meaning you don’t have to put forth much energy to feel the benefits.
To keep my hips aligned, I use the two domes under my sit bones while sitting at my desk. This keeps my hips smiling and avoids straining my back. When my neck begins to tense, I place one dome above my tailbone and the other between my shoulder blades for a relaxed seated posture. Not only does this feel good while I’m working, but it dramatically changes the way my body moves after work.
Assess, anticipate and execute. You have the power to control how you feel during the daily grind. All it takes is a few minutes.