Staying Injury Free in Lockdown 

Man stretching on mat in bedroom

Since pretty much all aspects of life have been upended over the last year, most people have found themselves adjusting to a completely new routine. This can be a positive; new hobbies, lots of walks and more time spent with family, or challenging; figuring out a comfortable way to work from a box room. But, as Mark McGroarty from Human Centred Movement explains, little changes can make a huge difference. 

Common Covid Complaints

Mark and his team have been kept busy for the last year, largely due to the huge number of people dusting off their runners and heading out for some 5k radius exercise. “One of the few benefits of life with Covid is that we've been forced to get outside”, he says. "That bit of movement has breathed new life into a lot of people”. Unfortunately, for those who push themselves a little too hard, results have included sore knees, strained ankles, and even, says Mark, “shoulder injuries from sea swimming!”

A Marathon, Not a Sprint

Woman standing in park after a run

The good news is that these types of injuries are largely avoidable. When it comes to starting something like running, Mark says it's all about common sense. “You wouldn’t expect to learn French in one day”, he reasons. “You’d master the basics first. The same is true for running. Try walking your chosen distance initially, then jogging, then eventually, running”. By setting long-term goals and celebrating all the little achievements along the way, you’re more likely to stick with – and enjoy – your new hobby. 

Working from Home

The HCM team has also seen lots of sore necks and stiff shoulders, thanks to uncomfortable makeshift workspaces. There are lots of things you can do to make your home environment as comfortable as possible. Mark says the trick is to keep moving. "Take advantage of the fact that you're in comfortable surroundings, and don’t lock yourself into one position. You have the option of kneeling, using the floor, or even setting up the ironing board as a standing desk.” Remember to regularly stretch your legs too, and head out for a brisk walk at lunchtime if you can. “It’s about getting as much variety into your working day as possible.” If your back or neck pain is persistent, our Back-Up benefit is an exclusive service for Irish Life Health members. In just three simple steps, you can access expert personalised advice to help prevent, improve or correct most back and neck pain. 

Move with Mark 

To help people get moving, Mark hosts a simple three-minute class every morning on HCM’s Instagram. Completely free and open to everyone, it's a great way to start the day. He’s also a big advocate of using the breath to heal the body, something that’s very useful in the current climate. “We’ve had people in with knee pain, and all we did was have them lie down and do some breathing exercises.” Incredibly, their pain eased. “It’s not that breathing was a magical fix”, he adds, “it was that they took themselves out of that high anxiety state. A simple breathing routine can change everything."

For more on Human Centred Movement, click here.