We had an awesome time speaking with Fitness and Wellness Coach, Trina Pistor on our Pivot Pop-Up. Trina is incredibly knowledgeable in the movement and exercise arena and gave lots of tips on how to avoid injury. Here are our top takeaways!
The Core – the core is often thought of as having a six-pack, or something you have to do 100 sit-ups a day to achieve. The core is actually much more in-depth and is vitally important to the structure, protection, and support of our spine and surrounding areas. Technically, the core muscles start at the top of the rib cage and go all the way down to the pelvic floor. Having a strong core means engaging the shoulders down to the pelvic floor, having proper alignment and good posture, which ultimately protects you from injury. Your core muscles are what stabilizes and takes the load off your back and knees, giving you the ability to perform necessary daily movements.
The 7 Movement Patterns – The 7 movement patterns are the basic movements we do every day, without even thinking about them. These are your core movements, meaning coming from your core, making it all the more important to have strong and engaged core muscles. The 7 movements are squat, lunge, push, pull, hinge, twist, and walk. As you age, it becomes more and more difficult to sustain these simple movements, making it essential to keep your core and surrounding muscles strong enough to support your posture.
- Squat/Lunge – The most important thing to remember when it comes to proper squat/lunge alignment is making sure your knees are never going over your toes. You want to keep your weight in your heels and make sure you’re bending at the waist and bottom, not the shoulders. This helps protect injury-prone joints, like the knees. When practicing squats and lunges, take it slow, and be sure to focus on your alignment. The body doesn’t know speed, it knows accuracy.
- Push/Pull – Our bodies push and pull all day long without conscious effort. Whether at the gym or in everyday movements, learning to hold the correct position and engaging the core is the key to avoiding injury. Bending over and curving the spine, especially when pulling or lifting something heavy is what leads to muscular, nervous, and spinal issues. Instead, focus on tightening your core muscles and pushing or pulling from the center of your belly, rather than your arms or back.
- Hinge/Twist – When hinging forward or twisting your torso, you shouldn’t be collapsing your chest, back, and shoulders. Instead, keep your spine straight and your chest up and forward. Your knees should be bent, not locked, so that you’re relying on your muscles, rather than your spine. In a twist it’s important to be conscious about the way you’re moving – jerking up out of bed and twisting your spine incorrectly can cause pinched nerves, strained muscles, and other issues.
- Walk/Run – Just like with the other daily movements, it’s important to use exercise as an opportunity to strengthen your muscles and practice proper alignment. Getting out and walking or running every day, even if only for 15 minutes, helps loosen your muscles and get the blood flowing. The benefits of exercise are not limited to how big your biceps are, rather the benefits come from long-term sustainability, and being able to do everything you need to do on a daily basis without pain and injury.
The Microbiome – Our Microbiome is made up of all the bacteria that live in our digestive system and allows us to process our food and use it as fuel. More research is being done every day about the importance of the microbiome as it relates to common ailments like acid reflux, indigestion, acne, eczema, psoriasis, arthritis, depression, anxiety, and many more. Most conditions can be managed and improved by having a healthy microbiome. The key to a healthy microbiome is having variety in your diet – every meal should be colorful, diverse, and nutrient-dense.
What to eat before Exercise – You may be able to work out on an empty stomach and feel fine, but if you’re someone who needs something in the tank to be your best, there are a few things to consider regarding what you eat. Your food needs to fuel you. What you eat before exercise is either going to give your body a boost and burn as fuel, or sink down into your stomach and make you feel heavy. Finding foods like half of a banana, an apple, grapes, nuts or nut-butters, etc. are the right kind of calories to give you the energy you need to do your best. Trina’s personal favorite pre-workout snack is an organic rice cake with nut butter, hemp seed, and unsweetened coconut.
Balance in your Workouts – many of us have certain exercises we prefer over others. Unfortunately, if you just do cardio, just weight lift, or just do yoga, you’re creating an imbalance in your muscles, which is eventually going to cause injury. When you introduce and maintain variety in your workouts, i.e. switching up your activities and cross-training, you’re more likely to be using the stabilizer muscles that keep your spine and core strong and better support the body. Start with 15/20 minutes a day to get your blood flowing. The goal is to eventually achieve 30 minutes of movement a day, 5 days a week.
One of Trina’s favorite phrases is, “Success doesn’t come from what we do occasionally, it comes from what we do consistently.” Her advice is to try to be consistent in whatever it is you’re doing. If you incorporate one health-conscious thing every day, eventually it’s going to turn into a healthy habit.