How frequently you perform high-load tasks and how much you perform in one session, can have a big impact on your body’s ability to recover and adapt to the loads you are placing on your muscles, tendons and bones. These structures take 24-48 hours to recover from a heavy dose of exercise. Applying high load to your musculoskeletal tissues on back-to-back days can increase risk of injury.²
This is why regular gym-goers will usually know not to do heavy sessions on the same body part/muscles, 2 days in a row. Allow your body a day’s break between hard work-outs on the same muscle groups.
You don’t have to do the same route every day or in the same amount of time. If you’ve done a long or fast run one day, you might not go as far or fast the next day. Hill running or walking is also usually best separated by a day, particularly if the hills are long and/or steep.
Spending hours standing bent over weeding, digging in hard ground or shovelling soil or mulch for the garden may be aggravating for your hip or pelvic pain. You may benefit from getting assistance with harder tasks and/or taking on these tasks in bite-sized pieces that your body may better tolerate. This strategy is often called ‘pacing’. Limit your harder gardening tasks for example to 30 minutes, then do some more another day. The limit will be different for everyone, so it’s a matter of testing your limit. However, it’s advisable to first start with less than you think your body can manage and then build up slowly from there. In the home, you may apply these pacing principles to the vacuuming, the spring-cleaning and standing in the kitchen cooking. Take regular breaks and/or spread these tasks over several days.
If your job involves some heavy physical tasks, are there alternatives or pacing strategies you can introduce? For example, you may be able to use a trolley instead of carrying tools or equipment. Schedule jobs so that if you have a task requiring heavier physical effort, you try to alternate with an easier task. Sustained positions such as prolonged sitting and standing also result in cumulative loads which may be aggravating for some conditions. Changing your position and moving regularly can be very helpful and you may need to request a workplace assessment. Something like a sit-stand workstation may work for you.
Learning to be your own best ‘load-manager’ will help you become your own best pain-manager. Some individualised advice from a Hip Pain Professional can help get you on the right track quickly.
Hip Pain Professionals:
This blog was written by Dr Alison Grimaldi and Kirsty McNab, physiotherapists who have over 50 years of combined professional clinical experience, dealing with patients suffering from a wide range of hip and pelvic conditions.
Dr. Alison Grimaldi BPhty, MPhty(Sports), PhD is Practice Principal of Physiotec Physiotherapy, an Australian Sports Physiotherapist and Adjunct Senior Research Fellow at the University of Queensland, author and global educator.
Kirsty McNab BSc Hons, MPhty(Sports), is Practice Principal of Physiologix and a highly experienced Sports and Exercise Physiotherapist having worked extensively with elite athletes, the Olympic Winter Institute of Australia, and Tennis Australia.
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