We all have good intentions when the calendar turns to a new year. Whether you make resolutions formally or just inside your own head, chances are they involve living a healthier, more active life. And, more activity can sometimes mean more stress on your musculoskeletal system resulting in flaring of past injuries or issues, or the development of new ones.
Ensure you aren’t derailed from a “Life in Motion” in 2017 by a body that isn’t cooperating. With these 10 tips from the health experts at Olympia Orthopaedic Associates, increase your chances of resolution success and a healthy, happy 2017.
- Move More – The number one way to increase flexibility, improve sleep, reduce aches and pains, and decrease stiffness is to move. “But I’m in pain – I can’t move more!” you might say. However, research and anecdotal evidence all points to increased movement decreases aches and pains. So, take a daily walk. Get up from your desk every hour. Park further from the store. The many fitness trackers now available can really help you monitor your progress and set realistic goals.
- Practice Joint Preservation – The best way to maintain healthy joints is to treat them right by moving them every day. Pay attention to proper 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 St. Bernard, for a while.
- Use Proper Posture – For many of us, sitting at a desk and looking at a screen occupies much of our day. Ensure your musculoskeletal system isn’t paying the price. Adjust your workstation 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.
Eat to Improve Bone Health – When you hear “healthy bones” you likely think of milk. But, you don’t have to drink milk to fight osteoporosis and combat fractures. Calcium and vitamin D are the two most important nutrients for bone health, but are not made in our bodies. In addition, calcium needs vitamin D to be absorbed, so these two are partners in crime when it comes to bone health. Kale and spinach are great non-dairy sources of calcium and salmon and egg yolks are chock full of vitamin D. Figs contain more calcium than two glasses of milk and almonds pack a powerful calcium punch. Many people choose to take a vitamin D supplement, too, especially during our dark, northwest winters
- Buy New Shoes – While this may sound more like a shopping trip than a healthy living tip, we spend much of every day on our feet. When our shoes are not supporting 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. When our feet are not supported, the stress transfers to our knees, hips and backs. Ensure you are setting yourself up for success, especially when starting a new exercise routine, with proper footwear.
Know What’s Going On Inside – It’s hard to understand a sore back, a cracking knee or weak hip when you don’t really understand the underlying issue. Is it arthritis? Tendonitis? An injury? Olympia Orthopaedic Associates can diagnosis your issue to help you pinpoint a solution. With on-site x-ray, MRI and CAT scans, you are able to get answer to help you on the road to recovery.
- 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 – Some of us avoid going to the doctor simply because we are afraid of what we might hear. 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 a host of options to get moving, pain-free, without the knife.
Know Your Limitations (and Abilities) – Sometimes we forget about our body and let our mind – move the furniture, rototill the garden, ski all weekend – make all the decisions. Be smart when taking on an activity for work or play. It may feel ok at the time, but you will pay later, possibly with long-term impacts. When you do push yourself outside your comfort zone, 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 – Sleep is highly underrated in our busy, do-it-all culture. Quality sleep results 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.