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In this new world of lockdown after lockdown, there’s been a lot of talk about the negative effects on our mental health, and rightly so. But as therapists we’re also interested in how our bodies have changed and coped with the new pressures they’ve been under. 
 
This blog discusses the importance of addressing our body’s changes and looks into the physical and mental benefits of doing so. 

Lockdown Commences 

It’s the 23rd of March 2020, and your head is still trying to work out how you are going to get through 3 weeks of lockdown. Little did we know what we were in for! Some of us were dreading it, others looking forward to having a bit of time to reflect and think. I bet we all at some point thought about exercising more, becoming vegan, drinking less (or more), and overall taking the time to re-evaluate. Then the weeks went on, and on… and on. The weeks turned into months. Those who were able to keep working fell into a new working routine of home-office-life. For those who weren’t so lucky, other things had to be done, and so this continued… 
 
Looking back over the past year we can all say things changed. How they changed will be different for every single person. Now, if you changed and started exercising more and eating more healthily, your body will have gone through just as much change as if you became hermit and didn’t move at all, other than to stuff your face with ice cream. Therefore, our bodies changed. 
 
I’m not just talking about weight loss or gain, here. I’m talking about the biomechanical pressures on our body that any level of increase or decrease in levels of activity can create. These changes will, over time, have had crucial effects on your body’s way of working. The muscle mass and strength will have been affected, residual tightness of tissue will have changed, mobility, flexibility, and overall joint and muscle function will have changed. All these changes which happen gradually and subconsciously will have affected your body (positively or negatively) during these times of lockdown after lockdown, we are now different human beings. 
 
Now, by reading this you may have already put yourself into a category, either the “New Movers” or the “Hermit Crab”, or perhaps you moved between both. Whichever the category, you and your body have changed. So, we need to understand what these changes have done and why they are important. 

“New Mover” 

As we said at the start of this blog, the effect on mental health illness from this lockdown has been catalogued massively and we certainly believe more needs to be done to help anyone who is suffering now, and when we come out of lockdown. As a “New Mover” or someone who has remained just as active, you will have potentially had a better experience at fighting the mental side of the battle. However, your body will have changed, and this will have been in the more obvious way. Initially muscles will have been tight post-exercising, but over time and stretching your body will have adapted. Muscles will have grown stronger and larger, depending on the exercises you may be more mobile and flexible (or less), and overall body/ joint function will have changed. The culmination of all of this may have started you down a path of niggles and changes which may come problematic. Your back may be tighter, your shoulders might ache, or your ankles could be sore. There may be multiple changes which have created the odd ache and pain. With this change you may want to address these problems over the next couple of months. Having regular Sports Massage, including a stretching routine, and addressing nutritional elements can all be fantastic ways to help you on your journey of improvement and better physical and mental health. 

“The Hermit Crab” 

As someone who has identified as a hermit crab you may have had a different journey mentally and physically during lockdown. Work will have changed, your usual exercise avenues halted or reduced, and you may be struggling to adjust. Physically you are relatively sedentary and your work as either stopped or become 100% home office related. For you and your body this has been a hard time. Your body has become tighter, more achy, and prone to niggles. Old injuries and pains have returned, and you’re struggling to motivate yourself back to some sort of exercise, and the usual facilities you used are all closed. Pretty grim, right? 
 
There is only one thing to do. You can’t change how you reacted before, but by reading this and identifying that you and what your body have been doing has changed, that is the first step. If you do one thing going forward, put 20 minutes aside to do some sort of activity. This could be as simple as a walk, it could be a HITT workout (with little or no weights), it could be a little session you have done before at the gym. Try and move! If you are still struggling then please let us know, as we have therapists who can help! 
 
The coming months pose a similar fate, and who knows what is around the corner, but focus on what you have control. You have adapted, but you can adapt better! Don’t let your body down, because this feeds the mental side. If you’re exercising more, look after your body, and recover correctly. If you’re still static, you now have the opportunity to change this! 

How are Fire & Earth helping? 

We are once again running our very own easily accessible group exercise class to help EVERYONE! Whether you haven’t moved properly in months or you’ve been moving this whole time, these classes are based around therapy for the body, focusing on Functional Movement & Mobility. Their aim is simple; over a specifically designed 6-week program these classes aim to remove pain and niggles and fix biomechanical and postural problems. 
 
Whichever category you think you are in these classes can help! 
 
If you want to fix those limitations and problems, contact: jc@fireandearthuk.com or call Harry on 07776133852. 
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