Time is a powerful thing. Time is the multiplier that turns a tiny crack on a newly paved road into a pothole or a single tree into a forest. It can be constructive or destructive depending on how it is utilized, specifically when it comes to the body.
In competitive athletics, time is a multiplier of stress and recovery. Every athlete must place stress on his or her body to drive an adaptation response in the body along with adequate recovery to increase his or her performance. Just as in the examples above, time allows for the accumulation of the training and recovery decisions that are made. The result of this accumulation over time can either improve or hinder performance and the body based on the quality and consistency of the decisions made. In short, bad decisions and good decisions in your recovery will accumulate over time.
The biggest mistake you can make is assuming that the above statements are in reference only to the accumulation of the stresses incurred while training under the bar. In reality, this portion of time is only a minuscule part of the bigger picture when it comes to recovery and stress management. Even the most dedicated lifters spend more time engaging with their phones in a week than they do with barbells. Studies have even shown that when the neck is flexed forward, such as in the act of looking down at your phone, this induces the weight of the head up to six times the normal weight. So, what do you suppose played a larger role in causing the tightness and pain in your neck: the 15+ hours spent in neck flexion or the actual time you spent loading the body?
The example above is an excellent illustration of how time can compound against the body when an improper movement, a repetitive movement, or a bad posture is adopted over a long period of time. Prolonged neck flexion is so damaging that at the very least, it will lead to the loss of the normal curve in the neck and, for many, to early degeneration in the joints of the spine. This kind of degeneration has the potential to reduce the range of motion in the neck and cause pain and numbness in the arms and hands. This example is also a very helpful introduction to the point being made in this article, which is that failure to address repetitive stresses and value movement during activities of daily living has a hugely detrimental effect on your body and its readiness to train. These can be mitigated by adopting proper loading and movement habits and by promoting better recovery from the stresses of everyday activities.
1. Respect Movement
2. Take Frequent Breaks from Repetitive Movements and Postures
3. Ensure Quality Sleep
What many find after they are hindered by their pain, however, is not only the importance of maintaining a proper posture and movement during daily activities but also the large role that these bad habits and decisions have played in their pain. For more information on this topic, visit EliteFTS.com to read Dr. Detweiler's full article, It's Time to Recover.