Who doesn’t love to play for hours at a time? Or at least until our body starts to ache. How many of us have experienced lower back pain and hand fatigue, but never properly addressed ways of tackling these issues? Today we will discuss a couple of quick solutions, in hopes that these help us stay healthy for all those long hours playing.

1. Warm-Up

A solid warm-up routine doesn’t only pertain to getting our fingers geared up for playing, but to preparing the entire body for sitting with our instrument for a long period of time. Before you start practicing, try to do some good old stretching exercises, work on that neck of yours, arms, hips, and give them some tender love and care. Often times we just don’t have time, and we go straight to our instrument, but giving ourselves only a few minutes to warm up the body will be beneficial in the long run.

2. Icing

It is no secret that ice is nature’s best anti-inflammatory remedy, and better yet, ice baths are one of the most used treatments in sport injuries. So, why not try it out in music practice sessions? If our playing routine is long, and we feel aches in our arms afterwards, just go ahead and ice the painful areas for a bit to take that edge off.

3. Active Relaxation

Oftentimes when we feel tired when playing, and try to push through, our muscles contract even more, creating unnecessary tension. Too much of this and we have ourselves a problem. In this case we need to learn to actively relax. This could mean pausing for a moment every 10 minutes, letting your hands dangle, or even just learning how to play with minimum tension. Usually deep breathing helps relax the body, but active relaxation has to do with us activating our sensors and keep reminding the body that it’s OK not to be tense.

Get up and walk it off!

4. Get Up!

Have you ever heard of the phrase: “Get up and walk it off?” While we cannot walk everything off, we certainly can tackle playing fatigue by getting up every 45 minutes, and taking a short stroll around the house. This helps reset the body, readjusts the muscles, and gears us for another healthier practice set. While walking, wiggling your hands and legs is good too!

5. Recognize Your Limit

This one should be easy, but it doesn’t come as easy in practice. We all feel when we are approaching our maximum for the day, but sometimes the music is just too strong to stop. Well, when the body says it’s enough, it almost always is. So, stop playing when you are feeling fatigue, and rather attempt to continue enjoying music in a different way – listening, studying scores, reading articles.  These are all great resources for music learning beyond playing an actual instrument.

We hope this article gave a little bit of insight into helping alleviate playing fatigue. If you have any other thoughts or suggestions on how you tackle aches and pains of practicing, write to us–we would love to hear from you.