Sorry, we will be closed for the day for an unexpected health problem (resting sore lower back) we will open back up tomorrow 

—Mad Dog

I realize that you are probably wondering who exactly this Mad Dog is because they sound an awful lot like a pirate, and you can’t imagine a situation where a pirate ship would hold off looting a merchant vessel because of a sore lower back, they did battle high seas and scurvy after all. Plus, it is about 300 years too late for maritime pillaging.

You would, of course, be right, I didn’t read this note off of a yellow stained piece of parchment that I pulled out of an old green bottle, and Mad Dog is not the Great Lakes most infamous pirate. Mad Dos is a local breakfast spot, and that note was posted on the door yesterday morning while I was searching ravenously for bacon and eggs.

I was hungry and devastated. An injury had ruined breakfast.

Injuries are nothing to joke about, STATCAN took a closer look at injuries across all ages, and the results are enlightening. Over 15% of the population experienced an injury that restricted them from daily functioning, that is a 2 percent increase from the study a decade before, and I would guess, and this is my own opinion only, that that rate has increased since the results in 2011 to match our levels of sedentariness. We move so little that when we do move, it’s dangerous. Even jobs that require physical activity are repetitive and not necessarily beneficial to overall health.

Running a kitchen is demanding work, the constant bending, lifting and twisting that goes on can undoubtedly take a toll on your spine health, and it’s easy to see how you might need an extra day off. One day off may not seem like a huge deal, one day, but if it happens once a month that’s almost 500 hours of lost work in a year. And it very easily could happen as the statistics above indicate. The Mad Dog cafe is an owner-operator business, if Johnson – the man behind the brand – can’t make it into work the ship doesn’t move, and they lose the opportunity to generate income for the day in a highly competitive Toronto market. What if one of the people who tried to come in that day was a new customer? Referred by a friend and excited to try out a new brunch spot. When they see the sign, they are disappointed and with no previous exposure to the brand have no interest in returning. If it had been open; however, they may have loved it, told their friends and came back once a week creating another source of recurring income for the business.

Even if you aren’t personally the business, you don’t want to take a sick day or lose a day of pay because of an injury. The only people who should be missing work for injuries are professional athletes. When you are injured, it’s pretty tricky to be effective. Your mind is distracted by the pain, every adjustment in your chair hurts, and every time you stand up to stretch it feels infinitely worse, making you wish that you had stayed home.

It could be even worse. Perhaps you had a big weekend planned at the cottage, waterskiing with friends, a couple of beer on the dock, and a family style dinner to cap off the night. Instead, you are stuck at home, popping Tylenol and trying to find a position that doesn’t make you scream into your pillow.

We often create separate buckets in our minds for fitness and work. One is the weekly pick up basketball game, the other how we pay rent and eat. Unfortunately, they are forever linked. Our overall quality of life will always be predicated on how well we can move, which will, in turn, impact how we feel. Our bodies are not designed to remain stagnate, much less injured, and the consequence of not moving is significant both physically and mentally.

If you are reading this article chances are that you have had some injury that has nagged you at home and work and if I were to attempt to define a method for avoiding every injury, this would be a never-ending article. So instead I’ve included a few basic guidelines.

I’m not advocating you start an eight-day a week Olympic training regime but decreasing the likelihood of injury and improving the overall quality of your life is fucking important. Don’t worry about crushing yourself in the gym every single session or setting a new land speed record on your morning run day after day after day. The goal of training should be to leave the session feeling better than when you started, if not immediately for sure within a couple of days.

Aim to include each of the four categories below into your training week to stay injury free, and performing at your peak.

Resistance Training (Pick Things / Your Body Up and Down)
Recovery (Yoga / Stretching)
Conditioning (Alternating between Fast and Slow)

Some weeks may feature more of one than the other, and that’s fine. Don’t feel the need to follow everything to the letter, what matters most is that you are moving more often than not, in a variety of ways that build your resilience to injury.

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