Another Great article from Gina Paulhus
As a trainer, I share some of the same struggles a coach has of spending long hours on my feet doing sometimes physical work. This type of work can really take a toll on your body. Here are a few tips and tricks to help you through those long days.
Problem: Aching feet
The first step is to be sure you have the proper footwear. Supportive shoes are a must, fashion be dammed. A good sneaker will work for some. Be sure to get fitted properly at a ‘real’ running store and not some chain place at the mall. If you have bigger issues you may need to be fitted for orthotics. It’s money well spent when you are on your feet ALL day.
Try a simple wall stretch where you face the wall, place the ball of your foot up against the wall, and lean your hips forward toward the wall. This stretches the calf as well as the arches of your feet. Perform the stretch with both a bent front leg and a straight front leg and hold for 30 seconds.
Elevating your legs after a long day of work will help some of the fluid that tends to build up to dissipate so that you are ready for work the next day.
Problem: Aching back
Make sure you use proper lifting form when lifting and moving mats. Use your legs as much as possible as they are your strongest body part. Stand with good posture and make sure you keep up with some core training even if it’s just a few minutes each day. This will really pay off to keep your back healthy.
If you can grab a few seconds to do a few simple back stretches while you work, it will help ward off some of the back pain that can build when standing for long periods of time. Twist from side to side and bent over a little then lean back a little. This is a quick version of ‘active flexibility.’ If you have a few more seconds, stand with your feet together, bend your knees a little, grab your own elbows and lean forward. Let your head just relax. This will help stretch out your back and hamstrings.
Throw a heating pad on your back in the evenings to help relax the muscles. If you can get a massage, all the better.
Headaches are usually caused by dehydration, muscular tension, or fluorescent lights. All of these are part of life working in a gymnastics club.
Keep a water bottle with you at all times. Set a goal for yourself for how many ounces of pure water to take in each day (start with 64 oz.) and challenge yourself to finish it.
To deal with muscular tension, the first step is to be aware of your breathing. It’s common to hold one’s breath when we are concentrating or working hard, but this will zap your energy and increase your muscular tension very quickly. Try taking a yoga class if you need help with learning ‘how’ to breathe. It’s the easiest, but also hardest thing in the world sometimes when we are stressed.
To stretch your neck muscles, reach over your head with one hand and place the other hand on your waist. Very gently, pull your head to the side with your mouth slightly open. Hold for 10 seconds then do the other side. After that, gently grab behind your head with both hands and pull your chin toward your chest. Finally, clasp your hands behind your back and look up at the ceiling.
There isn’t much we can do about the fluorescent lights unfortunately! Your gymnasts probably don’t want to train in the dark. But if there is a way to minimize excessive lighting you should. It’s better for everyone’s health.