In past blogs I’ve talked about the importance of getting up out of your chair/sofa every 15-20 minutes and walk around for a minute to give your body and mind a refresher.
As I was sitting watching the football games, I realized my body was feeling very fidgety. Even though I was getting up and walking up and down the stairs to drink water or do something, my body had enough of “inactivity”.
Finally I just got up and started jumping up and down for about 5 minutes. It was just what my body needed.
We never discussed the importance of jumping and jumping correctly to not injure yourself.
Jumping helps to fire up your body- stimulate the muscles and increase core strength. It helps to load up your bones to improve bone density, which is important if you are diagnosed with osteopenia or osteoporosis or to prevent from being diagnosed.
It increases your body awareness, coordination, and balance. You increase your oxygen intake and improve blood circulation, which in turn can boost your mood.
Go figure – all these benefits just from jumping!
On the flip side, if your mechanics are incorrect, or you start at a level your body is not ready for, or you overdo it and don’t change up the jumps you can get repetitive stress syndromes like shin splints.
Shin splints are pain in the soft tissue in the front to side lower leg below the knee and along the shin bone. You can get them from striking your heel to hard when walking, pulling back on the legs to decelerate going down a steep hill, or from doing the same jumping exercise repeatedly and not engaging the appropriate muscles but using the lower leg muscles to decelerate.
I mentioned how jumping is a core strengthener. When you begin the jump your knees are bent. The jump rise comes from the gluteals (buttocks). On landing, you should roll through your foot from toes to heels. The abdominals and gluteals soften the landing, making the entire body absorb the shock of the land rather than the knees, spine, or even head/neck. Landing is also in a bent knee position.
If you grip with your toes or land flat footed or with straight knees, this could cause shin splints or even injure hip/pelvis/spine.
So how do you prevent injury with jumping?
1. Gradually progressing your jumping. Start slow – 1 minute. As this becomes consistently easier add a minute. Listen to your body and what it feels it can handle at the time.
2. Use correct mechanics: bending at the hips and knees before the jump and when you land. Stay in the bent position. Engage your gluteals to jump and abdominals and gluteals for landing.
3. Have both a warmup and cool down.
4. Vary your jumps, e.g. jumping jacks, jumping forward and back or side to side.
5. Work on core strengthening.
6. Stretch after jumping and when you’re muscles are warmed up.
7. Hydrate – that means drink water only.
8. Get into a Pilates program
9. See a specialized Physical Therapist that also specializes in Pilates to correct your mechanics, strengthen appropriately, set up a personalized home exercise program, and improve your strength/endurance/coordination/balance.
By addressing concerns, exploring suitable treatments, and making adjustments, you can maintain a better quality of life and participate in the activities you love. For personalized care and support, click here to schedule a Free 20 minute Discovery call to enhance your quality of life and take the first step towards a pain-free, active life. We’re committed to helping you regain control of your health and well-being.
To Your Health,