Optimise Your Body For Summer Say NZ Chiropractors

New Zealand Chiropractic Association Media Release

Date: 15th December 2011


New Zealanders are encouraged to optimise their bodies before rushing into strenuous summer activities and save their spines. According to the New Zealand Chiropractors’ Association, getting the body optimised again after a sedentary winter is important to prevent injury and enjoy the holiday season to the maximum.

Dr Hayden Thomas, chiropractor and spokesperson for the New Zealand Chiropractors’ Association explains: `We do encourage people to come and have a check up. If your spine is stiff, posturally incorrect or injured and you suddenly start strenuous activity you may do more damage. At this time of year we start to see more people who are out of condition and suddenly they go out and exert themselves and end up with injuries and strains.’

‘By getting your body optimised for summer you can increase the range of motion in the joints in the spinal column; increase muscle balance; decrease the risk of injury by improving mechanical function and maximise body-brain feedback and nerve system co-ordination.’

Dr Thomas points out that research demonstrates how optimising your body can improve pre-existing conditions in other areas of the body, for example improvements to hip function have been shown to speed recovery from ankle injury and vice versa through the chain of inter-related movements.

Also, if an injury has occurred the pain might go away on its own after a few days but functional consequences can go unnoticed, and if uncorrected can cause significant problems later down the track. ‘This is why you should always get an injury checked by an appropriately qualified provider to help prevent future problems’ says Dr Thomas.

He adds: `Your local NZCA chiropractor will also be able to develop a tailored programme of specific stretches and exercises to improve posture. Good posture means there is neuro-musculo-skeletal balance. This balance helps to protect the joints in the spine and surrounding tissues from excessive loads, tension or stress. It also guards against injury and possible deformity. Good posture is a great ‘tool’ to possess to help prevent pain and ensure optimum function.’

The NZCA has produced ten tips for safer activities and injury prevention this summer:

10 Tips for “Safer Summer activities”

1. Warm up with a brisk walk, gentle stretches or a slow jog for sports activities. This will get your blood pumping and warm up your muscles.

2. While stretching before for any activity, breathe in and out, slowly and rhythmically; do not bounce or jerk your body, and stretch as far and as comfortably as you can. Stretching should not be painful. Consider a course of yoga or Pilates to help get your body in better condition for summer.

3. If working in the garden, bend with your knees and not your back, and use your arms and legs while working.

4. A warm up and cool down period is as important in gardening as it is for sporting activity and will help alleviate injuries, pain and stiffness.

5. Have a break. Stop when fatigue starts to set in.

6. Avoid dehydration. Eight cups of water a day is a minimum recommendation. If the temperature is high and activity strenuous increase this to a cup every 20 minutes. Have a good quality sports drink for activities greater than an hour to replace electrolytes. Thirst is a sign you are in the early stages of dehydration.

7. Avoid heat exhaustion where the body temperature increases quicker than your body can decrease it. Fatigue, muscle cramps, and light headedness are often signs of mild heat exhaustion. Wear loose light coloured clothing and avoid strenuous outdoor activity between 10am-2pm.

8. Have a plan of action if an injury is experienced.

9. Applying ice to any joint that is sore after activity can help reduce inflammation and improve recovery time. High quality Omega 3 supplementation can also help reduce joint inflammation and assist nervous system function and overall health.

10. Know your limits, use protective equipment, and have fun whatever the activity.

For further information on the New Zealand Chiropractors’ Association visit www.chiropractic.org.nz.

Jesse Cleave