Many of us start out January with good intentions, a solid plan and a goal to live a healthier, more active life in the new year. However, an increase in activity can sometimes result in stress on your musculoskeletal system resulting in pain and inflammation. This, in turn, can derail your good intentions and your workout plans by Valentine’s Day.
Do you want to live a life in motion? Don’t give up if your body is complaining. Use these 10 tips from the health experts at Olympia Orthopaedic Associates to ensure you can stick with your healthier lifestyle long-term.
Eat to Improve Bone Health – One of the most important, but often overlooked, ways to improve strength is to start with your bones. Diet can have a significant impact on your skeletal system. You don’t have to drink glassfuls of milk to combat osteoporosis and fractures. While calcium and vitamin D are the two most important nutrients for bone health, they are available through many different foods. Be sure to partner these two together as they need each other to be absorbed by our bodies. Kale and spinach are full of calcium while salmon and egg yolks provide vitamin D. Figs contain more calcium than two glasses of milk and almonds pack a powerful calcium punch. Supplementation can be helpful as well, especially for vitamin D.
- Move More – Second only to eating well, moving more is the best way to achieve better health. “But I’m in pain – I can’t move more!” you might say. Although it may seem counterintuitive, the more you move, the fewer aches and pains you’ll have. Walk daily. Get up from your desk every hour. Park farther from the store. Use a fitness tracker to monitor your progress and set realistic goals.
- Buy New Shoes – Shoe shopping is fun, but in this case, you are shopping for health. If shoes do not support our body correctly due to improper fit, being worn out or simply being an impractical design (heels should go, ladies, if you have musculoskeletal issues), the results can be far more serious than sore feet. Stress transfers to our knees, hips and backs creating far more serious issues. If you are starting a new walking or exercise routine, new shoes should be your first step.
Practice Joint Preservation – Our joints are the often-overlooked workhorses in our body. When active, pay attention to proper joint movement, flexing your joints in the direction and manner they were intended. While you may want to fling yourself wholeheartedly into a new dedication to yoga, keep your downward dog a lapdog, not a Saint Bernard, for a while.
- Know What’s Going On Inside – Do you tolerate a sore back, a cracking knee or weak hip? Do you ask yourself: is it arthritis, tendonitis or an old injury? Stop guessing and find out what’s going on. Olympia Orthopaedic Associates can diagnosis your issue to help you pinpoint a solution. With on-site x-ray, MRI and CAT scans, get answers all in one place.
- Use Proper Posture – Do you spend much of your day at a desk and a screen? While you may not be able to change your job, you can change your workstation. Adjust your setup to properly fit your body, asking your employer for assistance when necessary. Ergonomic keyboards, chairs, standing desks and comfort mats all improve posture and decrease pain.
- Address a Chronic Issue – Maybe 2017 is the year you’ll get back in motion. Is this the year for a new knee or hip? With outpatient joint replacements being done nearly every day at the OOA Outpatient Surgery Center, it’s easier than ever to get a new joint and new lease on life. Don’t live another year in chronic pain. See an OOA specialist today and find solutions that work for your life.
- Explore Alternative Therapies – Are you steering clear of getting a diagnosis for chronic pain because you are afraid you might hear the word surgery? At Olympia Orthopaedic Associates, the entire team works to avoid surgery when possible. Their in-house physical therapy department combined with sports medicine specialists, chronic pain experts and a cortisone injection options offer patients plenty of options to get moving, pain-free and without the knife.
Know Your Limitations (and Abilities) – When we are weekend warriors – helping a friend move, digging in the garden, skiing all weekend – we often pay the price. While you may feel ok during your activity, your body will tell you later that you overdid it, possibly with long-term impacts. It’s ok to push outside your comfort zone, but when you do, play favorites with certain parts of your body. Lift with the large muscles and joints of your legs. Avoid awkward reaching and twisting. Opt for a break in the lodge every couple of ski runs to rest.
- Sleep More – Quality sleep is essential for optimum health, resulting in better mood, more energy and sharper mental acuity. It’s also our body’s time for repair and regeneration. If you have added more movement to your routine in the new year, it’s essential to allow your body to heal during sleep. Eight hours a night is the minimum recommended for optimal results.