FEEL THE DIFFERENCE: Challenging your perceptions

Try Nordic Walking
Try Nordic Walking

If last week was a time for reflection then perhaps now is a good time to consider some challenges. Perhaps your immediate thoughts will wander to the Squats challenges that I set previously but I’m considering challenging your perceptions of what is normal and what is possible.

I had an interesting conversation with a Pilates instructor recently. She has had a baby and is happily breastfeeding but is suffering with shoulder (trapizius) pain. My first response was to advise her to speak to her Midwife to check positioning. If the baby is resting too low and the mother ‘hunched’ forward there will be considerable neck and shoulder discomfort.

However, as a Pilates instructor her perception that her ‘core’ strength is good so it shouldn’t be a positioning or postural problem. Further questioning revealed that she has been having sports massages fortnightly and is using a roller ball to massage her own shoulders between massages. The pain persists though so it is evident to me that her posture perceptions and massage treatments aren’t working.

This is an exercise in challenging perceptions. Sometimes it is good to challenge your own beliefs, much the same as it is good to challenge your body with different exercise programmes in order to make gains. If you want to make gains, change shape or speed it is important to sometimes embrace new ideas and challenge your existing perceptions.

As an outsider looking in, it appears obvious to me that although this Pilates instructor is likely to have good core strength and very probably a generally good posture it is possible that she is suffering from one of two problems. My first thoughts go to muscle tension brought on by poor posture during breastfeeding but it is also possible that stress or anxiety may be an alternative cause. Further investigations may discount one of these possible causes leaving the remaining culprit to be tackled. It could however, be a combination of both so some gentle encouragement may be needed along with some small changes.

It’s all about balance of course. Whether the problem is physical or mental it is important to remain balanced in order to avoid pain or discomfort. I shall explore both scenarios during the course of this week and expect to witness a happy and pain free outcome.

Moving back to physical challenges and on a different vein, it must have been impossible to miss the trials, tribulations and outstanding victories of the athletes at the Winter Olympics. I can’t help but feel inspired. In fact, I’m so inspired by the 19 miles race of the cross country skiers that I’m already planning to organise a 19 miles Nordic Walk from Horncastle to Woodhall Spa and back. I shall probably make it a charity event and limited numbers so if you are interested in joining me please get in touch. The plan so far is to have several ‘escape’ routes so if you don’t feel able to complete the whole 19 miles you will be able to stop at certain points. Perhaps it will be in two sections too. How about a Sunday lunch to mark the half way point? It’s not quite in the Olympic spirit but I’m not an Olympian so I’m sure you’ll forgive me for stopping half way.

On a serious note, if you are interested and have a charity in mind that means something personal to you then please get in touch. So far I have events planned for LIVES, St Barnabas, Cystic FibrosisUK and Cancer Research so if you have a different charity in mind I will be more than willing to consider dedicating this or a future event to it.

If you would like to get some practice in then please feel free to join my Nordic Walking group on Mondays at the Petwood Hotel and Wednesdays at Horncastle Swimming Pool. Both classes start at 9.30am and we walk for an hour.