Happy New Year!
I hope you have had a great Christmas.
I have had a very relaxing Christmas spent with the family in Norway.
I must admit I did very little in the way of exercise or training over the Christmas period. However, It's the new year now and i'm back on it. In fact, I have created a little challenge for myself (and for anyone else that wants to do it too...) to train every single day in January. So far it's gone well. I haven't pushed the training too hard yet - as I am aiming to sensibly and gradually increase the training load after my lay-off over the Christmas period. But it's now a week into January and I have been sticking to my goal of training every day.
I have been posting on social media my daily workouts using the Hashtag #tedjan18 - so start following that hashtag, and follow me on my various social media channels to stay in the loop with how i'm getting on with the challenge.
I'd really like it if some of you guys got on board with the challenge too. Don't worry if you havn't started the challenge yet - it's not too late - just try and train every day for what's left of the month (and don't forget to use the hashtag #tedjan18).
No doubt you are intending to start the new year right - with lots of exercise and fitness training. However, most people have already given up on their new years resolutions by the second half of January. So this challenge could really help give you the impetus to stick at it all the way through that all important first month. If you make it through to the end of January, then you will be well on the way to having set up a positive habit for the rest of the year - or even the rest of your life!
So I hope to interact with lots of you on social media during the rest of January - lets help each other and support one another in order to get the most out of this challenge.
May 2018 be your best year yet.
Body maintenance for musicians... a little off topic compared to my previous articles. However, I do have several musicians on the books at my Manchester Personal Training base at Longfords Gym and my Sports Massage base at Trafford Athletics Club.
So why is it important for musicians to look after their bodies, and how should they go about doing so?
Well of course, it's important for everyone to look after their bodies. However, musicians have a unique set of circumstances that require consideration. These include:
So what can be done?
Well there's not much that can be done about the fact that long hours need to be spent playing your instrument. However, when practicing do try to make sure you take regular breaks. Harpist Angelina Warburton is a strong advocate of the Pomodoro technique.
The Pomodoro Technique is a time management technique developed by Francesco Cirillo in the late 1980's. It involves using a timer in order to break down work intervals into manageable chunks. These chunks are traditionally 25 minutes long, and are separated by short breaks before resuming work again.
I would highly suggest considering the Pomodoro Technique. Not only will it give you greater focus during practice, but it will also give your muscles and joints a break from playing your instrument and some respite from what is most likely less than ideal posture.
If you want to take things a step further with the Pomodoro Technique, I would suggest performing a short Yoga routine during your breaks from work... or at least some other form of exercise that will help to counteract the likely poor posture encountered during the practice period.
My final suggestion with regards to practice is simple.
Listen to your body!
If you schedule in two hours of practice per day, that's great. But if, one day, you begin to encounter pain after, say, 1 hour 40 minutes of practice... then stop! Let's face it, the 2 hour per day practice target you decided on is probably an arbitrary amount of time anyway. So it's not worth soldiering on and risking an overuse injury just so you can reach your daily target.
Aside from these practice tips, what else can you do to take care of your body?
I strongly recommend engaging in a regular strength training routine. A good routine for musicians will be one that emphasises your postural muscles to counteract the long hours hunched up practicing. Send me a message on the personal training contact form if you need advice on this front.
Aside from this I would encourage you to take part in whatever fitness activities you find you enjoy the most. You might find going for a run really helps you to de-stress during super busy times. Or maybe a Yoga class is what hits the spot for you. Or maybe you need to take some aggression out on a punch bag!
The key is to make sure you do something you enjoy.
Finally, I would strongly recommend a regular sports massage. Almost every musician I know complains of getting tight back, shoulder and neck muscles. A regular sports massage, perhaps once a month, will really compliment all of the above suggestions by working out those tight muscles which get sore from long hours of practice.
If you need to book a sports massage, you can use our contact form to get in touch.
Here's to your health!