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Cats stretching out Robin Kiashek osteopathic clinics

Observe any cat and the chances are that they are sleeping, stretching or grooming. Cats really know how to look after number 1, ensuring

that their basic needs are met by their owners while treating themselves to plenty of R&R and time off to spruce up and look wonderful for every occasion! So, in honour of International Cat Day (on 8th August), let’s give it up for the world’s favourite pet.

Health-boosting benefits of owning a cat

While it may seem as if cats have got it all their own way it is, in fact, a two-way street. Research shows that the animals have a positive impact on the 1 cardiac health, of their owners and taking a quick catnap during the day can improve creativity, focus and productivity. Our feline friends can also help alleviate 2 stress, anxiety and depression – and teach us a lot about how to relax and live the good life.

Live like a cat

Sleeping – cats sleep between 12 and 16 hours a day, more than most other mammals and twice as much as humans, reports the University of Arizona’s Rubin Naiman in the Huffington Post. Because cats have few predators, they can sleep safely in the knowledge that they’re unlikely to be hunted while they’re dozing. We might not be able to sleep for as long as a cat but we can improve our own sleep by:

  • switching off electronic devices at least 30 minutes before settling down
  • getting comfortable in bed, with supportive mattress and pillows, and enough covers
  • Maintaining an ambient temperature and level of darkness in the bedroom

Being active – you may think that your cat spends most of its time napping and you’d be right. But when cats move – playing or stalking prey, for example – they can be surprisingly speedy, leaping and pouncing with great strength and agility. We all know the benefits of regular exercise to the human body – weight control, flexibility, cardiovascular and other health and boosting mood to name just a few:

  • Opt for at least 30 minutes’ five days a week, or more if you can manage it safely
  • Limit sitting time by taking regular breaks if you work at a desk or getting up and putting the kettle during TV ad breaks at home, for example
  • Build a healthy exercise habit scheduling in regular exercise and remembering to warm up beforehand and cool down afterwards

Me time – no animal is better at taking time out for themselves, whether this involves resting, playing or grooming. We can do a lot to keep stress at bay by emulating their ‘so what’ attitude (within reason, of course), and grabbing some R&R by:

  • Pursuing a hobby
  • Going out with friends
  • Reading a book or watching your favourite show (remembering to get up during the ad breaks)

Stretching – cats stretch every time they wake up from sleep, which is often! As well as feeling good, the act of stretching loosens and realigns muscles, readying the cat for activity. It stimulates alertness by increasing blood flow to the muscles and brain. It also gets the lymph circulation on the shift, flushing out waste and toxins, including carbon dioxide and lactic acid. Stretching does much the same for humans. Over time, it also reduces tension, improves posture, strengthens and improves the flexibility of muscles (benefiting the joints) and enhances the body’s range of motion.

Safe stretching (for humans)

  • Stretch on both sides of the body to keep things even
  • Hold each stretch for about 30 seconds – and don’t bounce!
  • Keep breathing – breathe out when going into a stretch and hold this while you inhale
  • Focus on each of the different muscle groups in turn – working your way through the shoulders, neck, calves, thighs, hips, arms and the lower back

If you’re still feeling stiff and strained in your neck, arms or lower body do get in touch to see how osteopathy can help release the tension and relieve tight, inflexible muscles and bad posture.

 

  1. University of Minnesota’s Stroke Institute’s 10-year study of over 4,000 Americans, 2008.
  2. A study by the State University of New York reported in the journal Psychosomatic Medicine (September/October 2002).

So You Play Sports? London Osteopath Robin Kiashek May Be Able To Help YouMany of my patients enjoy participating in different sports, ranging from a hobby of gentle walking to top-class professional athletes whose livelihood depends on peak sports performance. Whatever your own personal level of sports participation, there are three keys to maximising performance and avoiding pain.

Warm up and cool down

Sports injuries are common and one of the most common causes is through not warming up beforehand or not cooling down afterwards. While you might prefer to simply kit up and launch yourself onto the soccer field, this can give your body quite a shock, causing cold muscles to suddenly stretch and increasing the chances of strains and other injuries.

A warm-up session should include muscle stretching and light cardiovascular exercise. Its goal is to warm and stretch your muscles so that they are better equipped to take the impact they are about to be given and to increase circulation and loosen joints. Ideally you should take at least 20 minutes to prepare your body for sport by warming up.

If you are taking part in a sport that is more static (eg cricket) then you should maintain body temperature and muscle elasticity by gentle exercise and stretching when you can during the game.

Cooling-down is also important and is often overlooked. The cool-down process adjusts your body back from high activity to low activity in a gradual way. By cooling-down instead of simply stopping, your heart rate and blood pressure reduces in a more gradual way, reducing the chances of fainting or dizziness. Cool-downs also help to remove the build-up of lactic acid in your muscles after their vigorous activity. Stretching during a cool-down can also help improve flexibility. You do not need to spend a long time cooling down, 5 to 10 minutes is normally enough depending on how vigorous the sport was.

Avoid over-enthusiasm

It’s very tempting to hurl yourself across the court to make that winning shot or kick with tremendous enthusiasm in the hope that the ball will be too fast for the goalie to stop but this can lead to problems. Stretching our bodies beyond what they can cope with can lead to a variety of different problems.

And, no, it is not an age-related problem. It is certainly true that a less-young golfer might twist over-enthusiastically to encourage the ball just a little closer to the hole but younger people are just as vulnerable to problems. Their growing bodies are often expected to perform to very high standards and they can be putting exceptional demands on their bodies that they are simply not able to cope with. Over-enthusiasm affects everyone when they step outside of their limitations.

Incorrect equipment

Incorrect or ill-fitting equipment also causes problems. Badly fitting footwear can cause foot, knee and hip problems. Don’t forget that footwear that is a little old may no longer be giving you the correct fit so avoid wearing your running shoes until they fall off!

Ill-fitting protective equipment or not wearing protective equipment such as shin pads, head protectors, etc may not be a direct cause of injury but it can expose you to a greater chance of injury.

The good news

Although sports injuries are common, the good news is that the fitter you are, the faster and better you will recover. Therefore, it is valuable to keep doing the sport to maintain your fitness, even putting aside the pleasure that most of us get from participating in a sport.

How London Osteopath, Robin Kiashek can help

As well as treating sports injuries, osteopathy can also help improve sports performance by restoring structural balance, improving joint mobility and reducing adhesions and soft tissue restrictions. For instance, a golfer’s swing may be able to be helped by improving the body’s ability to move. This may also have the added benefit of reducing the likelihood of injury.

If you want to keep fit then osteopathy can help to improve your muscle tone and keep you supple. This will reduce the risk of injury and help the body recover quicker from any injury.

Robin Kiashek offers more than osteopathy from both his central and north London clinics. His allied therapies can better support you to achieve even higher sports performance or faster and better recovery from a sports injury.