Chef Network is working on a range of initiatives that address ways that we can improve our industry. One area we are looking at is improving the health and wellness of chefs and later this year we will run a series of practical workshops on this topic. In the run-up, Wellness Coach Maria Caldwell will share a series of short blog posts with practical tips on dealing with stress and improving health & wellness.
From The Ground Up
As we go through our day to day activity – we rarely stop to think about everything that happens in our bodies in order for us to be able to move freely.
It's usually only when we make specific concerted efforts to engage in physical exercise that we start to feel how the muscles, bones and ligaments work together to propel us into whatever action it is we are doing.
We spend, sadly, most of our lives disconnected and it's typically in times of stress, or physical injury, or tiredness after a workout for example that we connect with how we move.
This disconnection is not something that only happens to those of us who have a sedentary job or lifestyle – it's also common in those of us with jobs where we are on our feet a lot – doing “physical” jobs.
It's common – for professions in the kitchen, food & restaurant industry to feel physically tired at the end of a shift. You are on your feet all day – and usually located in the same limited space, doing the same or similar movements over the working day - day in day out.
But, over time these repetitive movements, can cause stress and strain on the body. We switch off through key parts of the kinetic chain, overuse larger muscles, underuse others and eventually, this can lead to muscle strain, often lower back issues, and a general imbalance in the body.
Being aware of the key points of stability and mobility of the kinetic chain, offers us a key insight into the mechanics of how our body moves.
Starting from the ground up, the feet are STABLE; the ankles: MOBILE, the knees – STABLE; hips are MOBILE; the lumbar spine (lower back) is STABLE, the thoracic spine (mid-back/lower rib cage) is MOBILE; the scapulothoracic (upper back / shoulder-blades/ chest) is STABLE, and the shoulder joint is MOBILE.
Enabling your body to *move well* means activating through the entire kinetic chain. Even if we work-out hard a couple of times a week, or are going for walks or jogs, playing a sport, OR have a physical job, it is essential to incorporate slower, more focused movements along the *entire* kinetic chain.
One of the easiest ways to do this is to try to commit to a regular yoga or Pilates class, or if it's available to you - work with a trainer who specializes in functional movement.
This helps to develop core strength, activate the gluteals (which in turn protect and strengthen the lower back), improves posture, and provides a counter to the stress and strains we place on our bodies every day. These types of sessions are designed to help us build mobility, strength and flexibility. All three are essential to have a strong, functioning body that moves freely – a core component of wellbeing.
As part of the Wellness Workshops later this year, we’ll incorporate a set 30-minute sequence to help you MOVE WELL. You’ll have this to take away with you and it's broken down into 3 parts – about 10 minutes each - for the days that you don’t have lots of time. I look forward to sharing it with you in person!
About the Author:
Maria Caldwell, Green Wave Wellness
Maria Caldwell is a yoga teacher with almost 15 years experience teaching public, corporate and one-to-one classes. Her classes incorporate a mix of movement, breathwork and meditation. She teaches dynamic yoga, restorative yoga, yoga for sports, and practical mindfulness.
In 2015 she qualified as Health Coach - certified by the American Council on Exercise, where she is currently studying a specialism in Nutrition for Fitness. She has a 360 approach to wellbeing - movement, nutrition, mindset and rest.
In addition to yoga, she likes to surf, hike, lift heavy weights and cook!
Find her on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram