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Healthy hip flexors for cyclists

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Healthy hip flexors for cyclistsby Annie Smit Three years ago, on walking to the beach, my left hip gave way; I could not walk without support. Four to five RPM (indoor cycling) classes weekly, along with a desk job, had caused my left hip flexors to tighten excessively. Interestingly, the hip pain was all but imperceptible whilst cycling, but it certainly stopped me in my tracks when walking. Now the problem has returned, and I’m back to Step 1: Rest. Many intricate muscles, tendons, ligaments and fascia work together to support the hips. The hip flexors comprise: ·Iliacus and Psoas (Iliopsoas) – the strongest hip flexor ·Anterior thigh muscles (Rectus Femoris & Sartorius) ·Tensor Fasciae Latae (TFL) – which inserts into the Iliotibial Band ·Medial thigh (Pectineus, Adductor Longus & Brevis, Gracilis) For those interested in the location & other actions of these muscles, Muscles of the hip is a good reference. To heal an injury, you need to treat its cause—not only the symptoms. …

Save your shoulders

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Save your shoulders by Annie Smit

Strong and stable shoulders are equally essential for simple tasks (such as opening a jar) and a myriad of sporting activities. Grit to golf, swimming to sword fighting; no shoulder, no show. Early one morning in 2016, as I picked up my hair brush, a sharp pain in my shoulder and neck halted my elbow at shoulder height. When you can’t lift an arm, even driving or dressing yourself becomes a feat. It soon became evident that performing repetitive low planks in yoga led to my shoulder injury—but this type of injury can arise from overload and overuse in physical activities, or sleeping at a bad angle. The fragile rotator cuff does not want to be burdened with excessive pressure; it’s there to stabilise the shoulder within a healthy range of motion.
The shoulder is the most mobile joint in the body, as illustrated by Dr Ray Long in the video Scapulohumeral Rhythm.  There are simple exercises to build shoulder integrity, no matter your gender, age or activity.…

Is sitting at a desk giving you a pain in the neck?

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Is sitting at a desk giving you a pain in the neck?by Annie Smit People who sit hunched forward at a desk for hours can develop a rounded spine and tight hip flexors, often leading to back, neck and hip problems. Even if you are (no longer) a “desk jockey”, we frequently find ourselves sitting; for meals with friends and family, watching television, or checking our phones to catch up on news and social media. To my horror, I recently discovered (via X-ray) that over time, your spine can adjust to this habitual posture and lose its natural curvature. That stooped posture is not only literally a pain in the neck (or back), but it makes you appear older, less confident and less attractive (except if you're 18 and in a red dress). The danger is real.
Although we know it’s important to get up and stretch when working in front of a computer, it’s easy to lose track of time when you’re immersed in a task. What can you do? 1.    Get up every half an hour or 40 minutes and try these simple str…