If you are in business and or climbing the corporate ladder you'll know all too well that feeling of invincibility. It's a divine trait and can also be equally as detrimental - unsuspectingly to your spine and your heart.
Clients come to me in their mid-30s to mid-40s with back, neck and shoulder pain and in their mid forties to fifties with heart trouble. One way or another, a life time of stress will get you. And when it does you will have to stop completely to heal and recover. There is nothing more soul destroying than being close to the height of your career and having to take 6 months or longer off because you can't get out of bed. It's probably not something you think about at all - and I am with you that you shouldn't have to. An awareness and application of a few basic support systems can minimise the risk of present or future work related back pain and injury. Here are my top 5 counteractions to minimise the risk of irreparable damage to your spine so you don't have to think about it!
1. Your state of mind. No one is invincible. If you are striving to achieve a top job it is an endurance race not a sprint. Pace yourself and take time out. The first step is to rethink the invincibility cloak - save it for dress up with the kids!
2. Your body heals and recovers from the stress you put it through daily when you sleep. Sleep is not an option for minimising injury and illness prevention in the future - it is a necessity. Both quality and quantity are important. Aim to sleep for 8 hours a night ideally between 10pm and 6am. Take out any electronics from your bedroom and switch off lights at the mains. Your room should be pitch black and as quiet as possible for a really good quality of sleep.
3. The food you put in your body becomes you. If you eat sugary processed foods your body will be starved of the nutrients that heal and restore from daily stressors. Also not eating enough will cause stress and impair effective recovery. Every cell in your body is renewed over 7 years. So short term fixes will not work well for injury and illness prevention in the future. Make a commitment to yourself to make a change for life - feed your success by eating what nature grows for you.
4. Movement is absolutely essential for injury prevention. If you sit at a desk during your working day you MUST make an effort to move either in the morning or in the evening. Exercise plays a direct role in maintaining good posture and keeping your joints strong and stable. A balance of high intensity and restorative exercise is also important. Too much high intensity will stress you out and could lead to an over-training injury. The quality of movement has a huge impact on how successful it becomes for injury prevention. If you turn up the gym and have a go on what looks good or manageable I would suggest seeking advice. At the very least find a good trainer or corrective exercise specialist with experience, top qualifications and a passion for their job to design and regularly upgrade a programme for you.
5. Strive for a balanced life. Spread your energy and interests wide. This idea is about giving your brain a new stimulus - a chance to work in another way. It is said that a change is as good as a rest right? So change your stimulus to give your brain a rest. Mental stress is as detrimental to your body as physical. This will mean stepping away from the office - and the blackberry.
Taking these 5 points on board and implementing them for life going forwards will minimise the chances of injury and illness so that you can enjoy a long, healthy and successful career.