You Know I Love Hockey, but it’s Wrecking My Back

Okay, so, I wrote about the return of hockey season, with it’s pains, and with its joys. A long time ago I wrote a little post about daily activities that are ruining your posture, which got me thinking about sports and hobbies that are wrecking your posture. I haven’t written that one (yet), but lemme tell you, whatever other sports I might include on that list, hockey is for damned sure one of them.


Because you’re performing an unnatural activity (skating) hunched over a hunk of wood performing another unnatural activity (handling/shooting the puck), and you’re doing this while wearing 40 lbs of protective gear, which includes a helmet.

Now, the protective gear technology is getting really good, and it gets lighter every year. I swear every time I buy a new helmet it weighs half what the one being replaced weighed. Same with the skates. Even still, you’re hunching over putting yourself in head forward posture, and adding a weight to your head multiplies the forces on your neck. This takes any tech neck you might have and dials it up to 11.

Long story short, this is a recipe for back troubles and poor posture.

Where is all this going? Well, I’ve been playing this game for a long time, and one thing I’ve noticed the last few years is that Mondays are getting increasingly tough. Like, really tough. My groin muscles ache, my low back muscles ache, my shoulders ache, and my neck aches. I felt like I would get better just in time for the weekend to roll around and start the cycle all over again.

So, why do I keep playing? Because I love the game of course, but I know guys around my age, maybe a little older, who are hanging up the blades because it’s simply getting to be too much. I don’t care, like I said before, you’ll be prying the stick from my cold, dead hands.

Anyway, after that torture session Sunday, I expected Monday to be a real treat. And by treat I mean, of course, torturous. But it wasn’t. I woke up a little stiff, but it was no big deal. Enough so that I treated myself to my regular Monday night Inferno Pilates torture session.

Even feeling pretty good after Sunday’s game, I approached Pilates with a bit of trepidation, especially as, on the way in, Nikki handed us resistance bands because she thought the class was getting a little stale, and we needed to dial it up a notch.

Aside, what are resistance bands? Meh, doesn’t matter, story for another day. Suffice it to say, they take a hard class and make it harder.

Anyway, since I was a little tired, I took the easier of the resistance bands offered, and did the class with them. By the end I was pretty gassed, but I did the whole class, even keeping up with the kids 1/2 my age who didn’t take the summer off, and hadn’t played an hour of 4 on 4 with no spares the day before. Yay me.

Now, the point of this is not to brag. Okay, maybe it’s to brag a little, but that’s not the main point. The main point is that as I work deeper into learning how to move efficiently and well, as I work harder on regaining my spinal mobility and developing my core strength, stability and endurance, I find that yes, of course my posture improves. It has improved dramatically, and continues to improve, but that’s not all.

In exercising specifically to improve my posture I have opened a whole new world. Yes, posture correction exercises fixed my back and posture. Yes, I’ve become a better example for my boys, who (led by my example) now all sit and stand up straight. But far more important, it has allowed me to overcome pain, and regain mobility. Activities that were once performed with worry about having to pay Iron Price the morning after are no longer a source of concern.

Overcoming Pain, Regaining Mobility, Learning to Stand Up Right, has led to me living better, living fuller and living happier.