All dog owners know about the “perimeter check”.
It’s what dogs do to check that their territory is safe from unwanted visitors.
They sniff every corner of their territory boundary (in our case it’s the back garden fence) and they do it EVERY day.
But what has this got to do with preventing injury?
Most people do the same actions in the same way every day, probably multiple times a day – or for hours at a time (think sitting).
For most of us, the movements are well within our capabilities and well within our joint movement ranges.
Not many people actively move their joints in ways that push against the limits of what they are capable of… not even gently.
In other words, they don’t do a perimeter check.
Why is that a problem?
Human bodies are exceptionally capable of adapting.
That’s how we build fitness and strength.
But they also adapt to a LACK of movement, which means that if we don’t continue to move our joints in ways that challenge our limits (even gently), then they’ll adapt by REDUCING our range of movement.
This phenomenon happens ever so gradually over time, which means that we barely even notice it – until we struggle to do things we used to be able to do easily.
And since our bodies are pre-programmed by evolution to conserve as much energy as possible, our joints always sit in the middle of their range of motion – however small that might be, which makes the reduction in movement even LESS noticeable!
Once this range of movement has diminished, our joints become less capable of tolerating stress, and that’s when the majority of aches, pains and strains happen.
So, if we want to help prevent injury…
We need to encourage our participants to move in ways that allows a “perimeter check” of their joint range of movement because it helps to:
1. Encourage a large joint range of movement (which reduces stiffness)
2. Keeps our joints moving freely (which reduces the effort it takes to move – which helps with performance)
3. Helps our participants connect with their own bodies which means that they can identify potential problems early instead of waiting for pain (and probably then ignoring it for a while!)
Oh, and plus, a daily “perimeter check” of our joint movement helps to reduce the physical stress that leads to increased anxiety and other emotional stresses.
And since these are the two LEADING causes (and risk factors) for injury – it’s pretty much a no-brainer!
As sports and fitness coaches, we are in a position of responsibility and it’s through our actions and behaviours that our participants learn how to act and behave when it comes to sports and fitness when we’re not there.
So, when we skip the cool down, or just pay lip-service to stretching, or spend ages on mobility – that’s what our participants do at home.
Simply by consistently spending a few minutes every session encouraging a “perimeter check” of joint movement, you’ll be teaching your participants how important it is, and they’ll do it for themselves too – and you’ll BOTH benefit.
This is just ONE of the ways that we hack injuries…
Have you done your “perimeter check” today?
If you’re not a member of the Injury Hackers Facebook group yet, head on over now and join us where you can share your favourite ways to “perimeter check” (and steal some cool ideas from others if you don’t have of your own yet 😆)
We’d love to have you join in the conversation!