When the Greeks ran foot races in the olden days, they usually did so barefoot and naked. Since then, running with clothes and shoes has become more of the norm (phew!) and, with the advent of the modern day athletic shoe, perhaps a little more comfortable. Developed to be protective and add traction, running shoes have evolved to incorporate lightweight materials that cushion the foot from the trauma of running . Most cushioning comes from EVA foam, a lightweight material injected with air cells designed to absorb impact . But, like all good things, the foam eventually loses its magic . According to some researchers, that can happen anywhere from 480 to 800 kms after the first wear . For a runner doing five 5km runs per week, that comes out to a new pair every five to six months. (Let’s hope Santa comes twice this year!).

Indirectly the 2 are related. Pain from eyestrain can occur in poor ergonomic environments.

Neck and shoulder basics: 12 things you should know!

1) The placement of your screen, documents, and devices largely determines your neck and shoulder posture. Your neck and shoulders will be up/ down/ twisted or reaching based on where you position your equipment.

2) Most people have the monitor too high. This causes dry eyes and considerable strain in the neck. Think about where you place magazines or papers when reading. Probably about chest-height and angled with the top further away compared to the bottom.

3) Use the normal reading position for the monitor. The top of your screen should be eye-level or lower. With the proper tilt/ angle (towards the eyes), the monitor can be quite low. 4) If you use bi-focal or tri-focal glasses the monitor may need to be considerably lower to prevent you from tipping your head up.

5) If the screen image is too small, or the monitor is too far away you will be hunched forward to read. Zoom your documents larger, or try Ctrl & “+” to increase image size; try Ctrl & “-“to decrease image size.

6) Glare spots reflected off the screen or direct light shining in your eyes can cause you to bend or lean in weird positions. This increases neck tension.

7) If your documents are flat on the desk and to the side of the keyboard you are bending and twisting the neck. Think drafting table; place your documents up on an angle to straighten the neck, place them near the monitor to limit twisting. An empty 3-ring binder serves well.

8) Reaching to the mouse, keyboard, or other supplies can cause strain. Working with the arm extended and unsupported can increases shoulder strain as much as 7 to 10 times. Place frequently-used items closer or find a place to support the arm.

9) If your Keyboard is too high you are probably working with tense shrugged shoulders. We recommend placing the keyboard relatively low, near your resting elbow height.

10) Elbows winged out to the side to reach for the arm rests? This can cause considerable strain to the shoulder muscles. See if the armrests can be adjusted in closer, or try working without using the armrests.

11) Are you a skinny thing with narrow shoulders? You may be rotating the arm/ shoulder to reach mouse -think windshield wiper motion. Moving the arm out to use the mouse can over-work the small rotator cuff muscle in the upper shoulder blade. Consider a narrower keyboard or keyboard without a number pad to allow closer mouse placement, or a central pointing device.

12) Still have neck or shoulder discomfort?consult a professional ergonomist or a qualified health care provider.

A recent study (ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26981714) found that a short term activation training program (of just six days) was effective in improving glute med activation through improved motor control and less inhibition of the muscle. So if the muscle you want to strengthen is just inhibited and not wasted / truly weak, changes can happen very quickly. To get these improvements you need to ensure:

1) Your starting position is right

2) Your understanding of the muscle is accurate

3) You receive the right cues to activate the muscle

4) You reinforce it with lots of repetition

On average exercise should be progressed slowly with regards to intensity but done 3 x a day. Protein synthesis will occur 2-4 hours after exercise and will immediately start building muscle.

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