Happy New Year! What you need to know before you start working out in 2012

New resolution for your Health and Well-being in 2012

Every year we make our resolution and goals for the New Year and who doesn’t include working out, losing weight, keeping healthy etc… I wish you all the success in accomplishing these goals but don’t sabotage your efforts by getting hurt. 

Many people will get out of the routine following an injury. By adding 1 more item to your list you will be better prepared to succeed.

To stay on track and injury free try “preventative care”! Before you begin schedule a massage, here’s why.

Are your shoulders in a forward slump?
The average human head weighs 8 pounds. And if your chin moves forward just 3 inches — as it tends to when you work at a computer — the muscles of your neck, shoulders, and upper back must support the equivalent of 11 pounds. 

This will make the muscles in the chest and front of the neck become too tight, whereas the muscles between the shoulder blades and the back of the shoulders will lack in tone or be “over stretched”. Known as Upper Cross Syndrome this creates faulty mechanics and compensation patterns.

What are the symptoms of upper cross syndrome:
If you have constant or chronic neck shoulder tension, sore at the base of your skull,  stiff neck, the postural distortion of your head leaning forward and you start working out, swim, bike, or run, it will exacerbate the faulty mechanics and cause excessive wear to the skeletal system, muscles, and tendons and ligaments. Additionally, it will hinder performance by depressing the sternum; meaning you can’t breathe, which is rather important for new and endurance athletes!

What can the right massage do for you?
Reduce muscle spasm
Reduce formation of scar tissue following an injury
Decrease muscle stiffness          
Increase range of joint motion
Relieve numbness/tingling      
Alleviate symptoms of Fibromyalgia
Reduce swelling           
Improve sleep
Relieve Bruxism the habit of Jaw clenching/grinding
Heal faster from pulled muscles and sprained ligaments
Achieve musculoskeletal and structural balance

The Self-Test: Are You Crossed Up?
Place two fingers at the top of your right shoulder and feel for a bony notch that pro-trudes from it. That’s your acromion. Now grab a ruler and lie on your back on the floor, your right arm resting alongside your body. With your left hand, measure the distance from your right acromion to the floor, being careful not to raise or lower your right shoulder as you do so. If the distance is more than 1 inch, you have upper-cross syndrome.

What to do at home
These are from Livestrong.com and I did try them, here are gentle and easy steps to help alleviate tension in the neck.

Neck Twist
The neck twist alleviates pain by stretching tight tendons and muscles and stimulating your cervical vertebrae. Stand with your feet hip width apart, keeping your neck in line with your spine and your eyes looking forward. Inhale, and as you exhale, turn your head to look over your left shoulder. Turn as far as you can, and hold for a few seconds. Slowly return your head to center. Inhale again, and exhale as you turn your head to look over your right shoulder. Hold for a few seconds, then return your head to center. Perform 10 to 12 repetitions.

Chin Nod
The chin nod exercise lengthens and reduces tension in the back of your neck. Perform this exercise while lying down with a soft pillow under your head for support. Slowly pull your chin down to your chest as though you are in the first part of a nodding movement. Hold for a few seconds, then repeat. Perform five repetitions.

Bend and Extend
This exercise stretches the front and back of your neck. Stand or sit with your spine straight and your neck in line with your spine. Inhale and drop your neck back. Look up at the ceiling. Open your jaw as wide as possible, then close your mouth. Exhale and return your head to center. Now drop your head forward as you inhale, trying to touch your chin to your breastbone. Hold for a few seconds. Return to center.

Related articles:
How Yoga Can Wreck Your Body
The Most Important Thing about Sports Injuries — Is How Not To Get Them
What is Neuromusuclar Therapy
GET out of pain!
My practice in Chicago

Mara Nicandro NMT, Nctmb Neuromuscular Massage Therapy in Chicago – Bio

Owned and operated Therapeutic Massage of Texas from 2004 to 2011 before relocating to Chicago Illinois. By demonstrating mastery of core skills, abilities and knowledge she received the highest level of recognition for massage therapist. A National Certification by the Board for Therapeutic Massage & Bodywork, a non-profit organization that establishes the standard of excellence for massage therapy. She obtained dual advance certifications in Neuromuscular Massage Therapy and Medical Massage from Sterling Health Center Dallas, Texas.


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