We all know that exercise is good for our overall health — it helps us feel good, stay fit and reduces our chances of acquiring a number of serious conditions like cardiovascular disease. It can even help us live longer.
However, there are right ways and wrong ways to perform exercises, and recovery is a vital factor which people often overlook. Too many of us suffer injuries when working out due to over-exercising, poor form, failing to meet the nutritional demands that come with working hard in the gym and skipping those all-important stretching, warm-up and cool down sessions.
Avoiding back and neck pain
For gym goers who frequently lift heavy weights, back and neck pain can be common problems. A lot of our favourite exercises place strain on the spine, causing chronic musculoskeletal issues if left untreated.
Not only are neck and back pain sore and uncomfortable, but they can also prevent you from putting in the effort you want to give at the gym. Professional fitness experts Carly Thompson and Luke Sandoe know all about the importance of form, explaining that protecting our spine is a key consideration during any workout.
“People go from spending hours in their office chair to exercising intensely in the gym without giving their body any warning,” says Carly.
She explains that hours spent hunched over a keyboard mean your body isn’t prepared for the strain we put it through at the gym. This means that various joints, ligaments and muscle groups quickly become troublesome.
Finding your best shape is all about listening to your body, according to Carly. Whether you love recreational sports or want to be a professional bodybuilder, ignoring aches and pains will eventually see you going backwards in your progress.
“My advice is always to get your foundations right whenever you set new objectives in the gym — and that starts with taking care of your body even when you are asleep.”
Sleeping is another key factor which determines the overall health of your body. Each of us spends around a third of our lives tossing and turning horizontally, contorting our bodies into a range of positions every night without even realising. This means that the right support is absolutely vital for avoiding long term health concerns – particularly for those avoiding back and neck pain at night.
“Too often people develop aches, pains and niggles the morning after exercise and blame it on the workout they have done, when in actual fact much of the damage could have been done long before that.”
As Luke explains, if your body is well-aligned, your muscles, ligaments and joints are able to function as they should when you hit the gym, improving the quality of your workout. But a poorly aligned body will quickly start to suffer after a few weight training sessions. This is why bodybuilders — and anyone lifting weights in the gym — must pay attention to all aspects of their wellbeing and health to make sure they don’t injure themselves and set their training back weeks.
“I used to suffer neck issues caused primarily by moving about in my sleep,” says Luke. “Weighing more than 20st at 5ft 8, I was experiencing a lot of unnecessary pressure on my neck as I tossed and turned.”
But a simple purchase can make all the difference when it comes to your body’s health, as it did for Luke and Carly. The couple now sleep on a Mammoth mattress, which offers full support and alleviates pressure.
“When [the pain] started to affect the quality of my training I knew I needed to do something,” says Luke, “which is when I decided to change mattress.”
Discover a mattress that can help with avoiding back and neck pain. Learn more about the Mammoth Sport.