We live in a fast paced world filled with deadlines, endless hours staring into a screen, sleepless nights and battling traffic. What does this do your body and most importantly, what can you do to change it? Ultimately, your health is in your hands. Depending on pills to handle aches, pains and stress is not a long-term solution and the many side effects can have a debilitating effect on your body.
Here are natural solutions that you can work on to feel your best:
Regulate your breathing
When you are under a constant state of stress your autonomic nervous system operates on a flight or fight response for extensive periods of time. This is not good for your body, dumping in adrenaline and other stimulant hormones. While this is good for handling quick situations, it hurts your body long-term with complications such as chronic pain, heart disease, diabetes and more.
Breathing is one of the easiest ways to calm down your autonomic nervous system and activate a part of it call the parasympathetic nervous system. This sends out endorphins and other soothing hormones to calm your body down. Try the technique of breathing in through your nose for the count of 6 and out with your mouth for the count of 4. Place your hand on your upper abdomen and try to gently expand that, being conscious of not using your shoulders or upper trapezius muscles to breathe. Try this multiple times a day, especially times when you feel stressed. It will help you relax.
Improve your posture
Posture is key to the proper functioning of your breathing, digestion and musculoskeletal systems. How is the setup of your workstation, home computer and other daily areas you sit or stand in? Do you find yourself slumping and slouching throughout the day? Take time to lie on the floor in the morning or evening and stretch your hands over head, stretching your back. Do upper and mid back strengthening exercises to strengthen your postural muscles. Be conscious of how you hold yourself in the day, bend down to pick up objects or reach overhead.
Even going for a walk 10-20 minutes a day, can make a big impact on your stress levels and overall health. However, try to perform more regular aerobic exercise and also incorporate strengthening exercises of your arms, torso and legs to help you cope with daily activities. The number one reason that people stop exercising or don’t keep it up is that they get bored. Make it fun, participate in a class, be with others, try sports and set goals for yourself.
We all know we should eat better, but it takes discipline and making meal preparation a part of your routine. Incorporate more vegetables, fruits and nuts into your diet. Make sure you prevent hunger by eating small snacks though out the day to keep your blood sugar levels normalized. Maintain portion control and eat slower to feel full and not crave a large meal. Drink more water to keep a feeling of being full and help your body operate properly. At restaurants, cut your portions in half and ask for a to-go box right away so you don’t eat the whole meal in one serving.
These simple actions can go a long way to helping you lead a healthier life, managing your stress levels and making you feel better. If you want to feel better, get rid of pain, walk and move better, then talk to one of our physical therapists today. Think of us as the mechanics for your body, keeping you running at your best shape. Just like you need routine tune-ups at your dentist, you should see your physical therapist every 6-8 months. Call us today.