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Want To Know The Core Problem Of Your Muscles? Touch Your Toes To Find Out

Want To Know The Core Problem Of Your Muscles? Touch Your Toes To Find Out

Stand with your feet together, keeping your legs straight and knees locked. Gently bend forward and touch your toes. Can you do it?

Many people can’t touch their toes, but don’t be quick to assume it’s because you have tight hamstrings and need to stretch more to increase flexibility in the muscles. Not being able to touch your toes can actually suggest that there is a bigger problem in one or more of the body’s muscles, as it relates to your mobility and stability.[1]

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Performing a simple toe touch test will determine the reason behind an inability to touch your toes and help you work out how you can rectify the problem.

The Standing Toe Touch Test

Everything in the body is connected, meaning if something is wrong in one area, the body will overcompensate in another. For example, lack of mobility in the hips (which can cause inability to touch your toes), will cause the body to rely more heavily on movement from the lower back. Performing the standing toe touch test can help determine what area is likely to be stopping you from achieving optimum flexibility.

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flowcharttoetouchtest
    via Breaking Muscle

    The standing toe touch test seen in the first part of the chart above, can help focus in on a particular problematic side of the body. Start by attempting to touch both toes at the same time – if this can’t be achieved, try testing each leg at a time to see whether one side is more deficient than the other.

    The Sitting Toe Touch Test

    The second part of the flow chart gets you to try the same exercise but while sitting down on the ground. It’s this test that can determine whether the problem is likely to be with your stability or mobility. So sit down on the ground with legs in front, knees and feet together. Slowly bend forward to touch your toes. Are you able to reach further?

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    Mobility Or Stability?

    If you performed the sitting test and weren’t able to reach further than the standing test, then you are looking at a mobility issue located in the lower back, pelvis, hips, or hamstring tightness. With lack of mobility, you are more likely to develop injury in the back due to overcompensation and less active use of the butt muscles.

    If you’re able to reach further by touching your toes in a sitting position, then stability may be the problem. By sitting on the ground, you increase your stability, and the nervous system allows more movement throughout the body because it feels more stable to do so.

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    Exercise For Increasing Mobility: The Squat

    If you’ve identified your problem as mobility, then doing an exercise that targets mobility throughout the body can help immensely in achieving the toe touch test. One of the best exercises you can do is the squat because it increases mobility in the hips and help with muscle imbalance.

    squatting-with-back-problems_1-1024x768
      Image Via
      • Stand with your feet slightly wider than your hips.
      • Move your toes so that they’re pointing slightly outwards – around 5 to 20 degrees.
      • Stack your hips over your knees and your knees over your ankles.
      • Keep your shoulders back and your spine in a neutral position to stop pressure on the lower back.
      • Extend your arms straight out in front of you, palms down.
      • Move your hips backwards as your knees begin to bend.
      • While the butt starts to stick out, make sure the chest and shoulders stay upright, and the back stays straight. Keep the head facing forward with eyes straight ahead, for a neutral spine.
      • Try lowering down so that your butt is below the level of your knees for best mobility.
      • Gently return to standing position and repeat for 10-20 reps.

      Exercise For Increasing Stability: The Plank

      If stability is your problem, then performing planks can help to strengthen the core and promote good stability throughout the body.

      plank
        Image Via
        • Start face-down on the floor, resting on your forearms and knees.
        • Step your feet out so that they are slightly apart and come into the plank position.
        • Make sure your body is straight, parallel to the floor, and your bum is tucked in.
        • Pull your abs in and hold the position for as long as you can.
        • Try to aim for 20-30 seconds and build up to a minute.
        • Repeat 3 times.

        Featured photo credit: iStock via health.harvard.edu

        Reference

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        Jenny Marchal

        Freelance Writer

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        Last Updated on March 13, 2019

        How to Get out of a Rut: 12 Useful Ways to Get Unstuck

        How to Get out of a Rut: 12 Useful Ways to Get Unstuck

        Have you gotten into a rut before? Or are you in a rut right now?

        You know you’re in a rut when you run out of ideas and inspiration. I personally see a rut as a productivity vacuum. It might very well be a reason why you aren’t getting results. Even as you spend more time on your work, you can’t seem to get anything constructive done. While I’m normally productive, I get into occasional ruts (especially when I’ve been working back-to-back without rest). During those times, I can spend an entire day in front of the computer and get nothing done. It can be quite frustrating.

        Over time, I have tried and found several methods that are helpful to pull me out of a rut. If you experience ruts too, whether as a working professional, a writer, a blogger, a student or other work, you will find these useful. Here are 12 of my personal tips to get out of ruts:

        1. Work on the small tasks.

        When you are in a rut, tackle it by starting small. Clear away your smaller tasks which have been piling up. Reply to your emails, organize your documents, declutter your work space, and reply to private messages.

        Whenever I finish doing that, I generate a positive momentum which I bring forward to my work.

        2. Take a break from your work desk.

        Get yourself away from your desk and go take a walk. Go to the washroom, walk around the office, go out and get a snack.

        Your mind is too bogged down and needs some airing. Sometimes I get new ideas right after I walk away from my computer.

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        3. Upgrade yourself

        Take the down time to upgrade yourself. Go to a seminar. Read up on new materials (#7). Pick up a new language. Or any of the 42 ways here to improve yourself.

        The modern computer uses different typefaces because Steve Jobs dropped in on a calligraphy class back in college. How’s that for inspiration?

        4. Talk to a friend.

        Talk to someone and get your mind off work for a while.

        Talk about anything, from casual chatting to a deep conversation about something you really care about. You will be surprised at how the short encounter can be rejuvenating in its own way.

        5. Forget about trying to be perfect.

        If you are in a rut, the last thing you want to do is step on your own toes with perfectionist tendencies.

        Just start small. Do what you can, at your own pace. Let yourself make mistakes.

        Soon, a little trickle of inspiration will come. And then it’ll build up with more trickles. Before you know it, you have a whole stream of ideas.

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        6. Paint a vision to work towards.

        If you are continuously getting in a rut with your work, maybe there’s no vision inspiring you to move forward.

        Think about why you are doing this, and what you are doing it for. What is the end vision in mind?

        Make it as vivid as possible. Make sure it’s a vision that inspires you and use that to trigger you to action.

        7. Read a book (or blog).

        The things we read are like food to our brain. If you are out of ideas, it’s time to feed your brain with great materials.

        Here’s a list of 40 books you can start off with. Stock your browser with only the feeds of high quality blogs, such as Lifehack.org, DumbLittleMan, Seth Godin’s Blog, Tim Ferris’ Blog, Zen Habits or The Personal Excellence Blog.

        Check out the best selling books; those are generally packed with great wisdom.

        8. Have a quick nap.

        If you are at home, take a quick nap for about 20-30 minutes. This clears up your mind and gives you a quick boost. Nothing quite like starting off on a fresh start after catching up on sleep.

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        9. Remember why you are doing this.

        Sometimes we lose sight of why we do what we do, and after a while we become jaded. A quick refresher on why you even started on this project will help.

        What were you thinking when you thought of doing this? Retrace your thoughts back to that moment. Recall why you are doing this. Then reconnect with your muse.

        10. Find some competition.

        Nothing quite like healthy competition to spur us forward. If you are out of ideas, then check up on what people are doing in your space.

        Colleagues at work, competitors in the industry, competitors’ products and websites, networking conventions.. you get the drill.

        11. Go exercise.

        Since you are not making headway at work, might as well spend the time shaping yourself up.

        Sometimes we work so much that we neglect our health and fitness. Go jog, swim, cycle, whichever exercise you prefer.

        As you improve your physical health, your mental health will improve, too. The different facets of ourselves are all interlinked.

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        Here’re 15 Tips to Restart the Exercise Habit (and How to Keep It).

        12. Take a good break.

        Ruts are usually signs that you have been working too long and too hard. It’s time to get a break.

        Beyond the quick tips above, arrange for a 1-day or 2-days of break from your work. Don’t check your (work) emails or do anything work-related. Relax and do your favorite activities. You will return to your work recharged and ready to start.

        Contrary to popular belief, the world will not end from taking a break from your work. In fact, you will be much more ready to make an impact after proper rest. My best ideas and inspiration always hit me whenever I’m away from my work.

        Take a look at this to learn the importance of rest: The Importance of Scheduling Downtime

        More Resources About Getting out of a Rut

        Featured photo credit: Joshua Earle via unsplash.com

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