As we have farewelled January most of us are getting back into routine and the Melbourne traffic has returned to its familiar daily grind. Exciting thing is—a new year can bring a fresh start, a chance to refocus, and to work toward goals that we’ve been putting off for ages.
As an Osteopath, I am reminded regularly that many people don’t make their own health a priority for one reason or another even though they say they would “like to”. Usually because they are busy, busy, busy with family, work, or sitting up late on the daily couch staring at some sort of screen.
Ironically, every second person has advice on how to create a more excellent vibrant version of themselves in 2014.We’ve all seen and read a million articles that tell you what you should be doing for a new year’s resolution and how to be healthier and happier and generally more awesome on the internet, on TV.. blah blah even on cereal packaging. Maybe the very struggle is because all this information makes being healthy seems so complicated or time consuming.
Alongside adequate nutrition, staying hydrated and spending quality time with loved ones (because no ones final regret was they wish they spent more time at the office). I would like to focus on just 3 things that are so often neglected or overlooked that are achievable for everyone and can make a huge difference. Even if you are completely run off your feet it is worth making time and you don’t have to compromise the things you care about or the ones you love. Alternatively, you can just keep making excuses and wind up miserable, grumpy and a bit fatter than you would like 😉
So take control, prioritise your health and at the very least help yourself feel little bit better by trying out the following things.
1. Stretch! the all round good guy for the mind body and soul. Stretching can be a brilliant way of taking time out to de-stress, to help reverse that pesky desk posture, and to help recover from exercise. There is not much point stretching if you are doing it wrong so here are a few pointers to help conquer the art of stretching.
- Stretch gently. It should not be painful and forcing a stretch past its comfortable range can cause weakening, predispose to injury and exacerbate exiting problems.
- Hold for at least 15-20 seconds allowing muscles to relax properly.
- Controlled slow breathing will assist muscle relaxation while you are holding a stretch.
- Link stretching with a regular activity like putting the kettle on, after a shower or reading the paper this way it gets done. A few minutes a day is all it takes.
2. Find something active that you love! AKA do some regular exercise. There are so many benefits like helping you sleep, improving bone density, help manage levels of depression and chronic pain, assist weight loss, reduce risk of cardiovascular disease etc etc etc
I believe the vital ingredient to adapting a more active lifestyle long term, is to identify activities you actually enjoy doing. For example all perfectly excellent forms of exercise include gardening, playing outside with the kids, walking with friends, the dog or the pram, pilates on the lounge room floor. Think about getting back into a sport you used to play and its never too late to start something you always wanted to do.
- Work within you own level of fitness and increase gradually as your capacity increases. That way you are less likely to become injured or immediately scared away.
- Make realistic challenges for your self.
- Keep a diary and set goals each month and recruit people to exercise with to you stay motivated.
3. Catch enough ZZZZZZZZs! adequate recovery is essential and one of the best things for recovery is good old fashioned sleep. It can improve speed, accuracy, reaction time as well as your memory. On the contrary, poor quality and quantity of sleep can diminish muscle repair, immune and hormonal functioning, increase fatigue and predispose to injury. If you’re having a tough time getting eight hours, try to squeeze in some cheeky nana naps during the day. Yes, seriously. The siesta is one Spain’s greatest inventions.
Finally, remember! If you need any help on the nitty gritty of stretches or suffer from pain that may be holding you back from exercising or getting a good nights sleep, please pop in to see us at The Osteopath as I mentioned earlier, we would love to help you out. Thanks for reading and enjoy the year ahead!
Regards, Tegan Jennings