1. Limit Your Sitting
Your body wasn’t made to sit for prolonged periods of time, or stare at an electronic screen for hours.It was made to move! Sitting perpetuates a slumped posture that can cause pain and shorten muscles. Taking a short break from your desk or electronic device every 30 minutes can do a lot to reduce pain. Stand up, take a few deep breaths, walk around, do a few squats, drink some water, or do a few simple stretches. The periodic, routine, integrated movements and shifts in position provide a variety of movements, reduce pressure on your joints and spine, increase the flow of blood and lymphatic fluid, and will leave you feeling more energized, with less tension & stress, all day long.
2. Get Out and Move
To complement Tip #1, it is important to get up and move for a prolonged period of time. Many studies have demonstrated the benefits of simple, free workouts. The mere act of moving your body every day can greatly contribute to reducing the risk of chronic health problems like heart disease, stroke, and diabetes. One of the most beneficial forms of movement and exercise is walking. It’s simple, requires no equipment, and it’s free. Plus, fresh air and a little vitamin D from being out in the sun can also help boost your immune system. The key is to get as much prolonged, pain-free movement as your schedule and tolerance allows.
3. Eat Real Food
There is an old saying, “You are what you eat.” This is absolutely true. Food is fuel for your body. So what you eat can profoundly impact nearly all of your body’s systems. The food you eat can greatly impact your immune system, inflammatory system, musculoskeletal system and your body’s ability to heal itself. Making the “wrong” food choices can negatively impact your body’s systems. Making the “right” food choices can positively impact your body’s systems. What are “right” food choices? As a simple rule of thumb, focusing on minimally processed foods, healthy fats and proteins, and lots of brightly colored vegetables can make a big difference! Do most of your shopping along the perimeter of the grocery store, that’s typically where the unprocessed foods are (fruits, veggies, meats, etc.. When you eat the right foods, you’re giving your body the building blocks to thrive.
4. Drink More Water.
Are you drinking enough water? You wouldn’t run an engine without oil in it, would you? Water is essential to the functioning of our body. It improves circulation to distribute nutrients and oxygen, regulates body temperature, aides in digestion, stops hunger, and keeps your nerves, muscles, and joints running smoothly. So what is the right amount of water to drink? A general recommendation is to drink 50% of your body weight in ounces of water. For example, if you weigh 120 pounds, drink 60 ounces of water. If you don’t like the way water tastes, add a sprig of mint, slice of citrus or cucumber, or even a tiny bit of salt. Finally, if possible, drink your water out of a stainless steel or glass container, as plastic containers can possibly leach into the water.
Deep breathing brings more oxygen to your body and brain. This can lower your stress levels and leave you feeling more refreshed. Studies show that deep breathing can turn off your fight or flight nervous system response, so your body can focus on healing. If you feel like you take shallow breaths and have a hard time taking deep breaths, have your PT help with your breathing technique.
6. Get Enough Sleep
Are you underestimating the power of sleep? Studies show, for most people, getting 8 or more hours of sleep can improve your immune system, control hunger, regulate your hormones, and energize your body and mind. And the best way to ensure you get enough sleep is to establish a routine to help your body settle into a regular cycle of sleep and waking. Avoiding electronics for at least 2 to 3 hours before bedtime helps too!
7. Don’t Be Afraid to Seek Out Professional Help
Is your injury getting better? Are you feeling empowered and encouraged that you are on the path to your ideal lifestyle? The best way to ensure your success is to communicate with your physical therapist. Make sure you have a solid plan and tools to keep minor problems from turning into a major injury. Our goal for you is to find the root cause of your injury, relieve your pain and keep it away, have a plan to get you back to the unhindered life that you desire.