It's not just the start of a New Year, but also, a new decade!
No doubt you will have made resolutions and goals for the year ahead - for some, this will be as simple as 'lose weight' or 'stop smoking', and for others, it might be learning a new skill, or language, or taking more time away from the office.
But what if I told you there were three simple resolutions that you could make to reduce daily pain, improve your general mood and reduce the chances of injury?
I'm here to give my advice on what you should be doing to help make these three things possible.
1.) Make stretching a part of your daily routine!
It doesn't have to take long, and it doesn't matter where or what time you do it - so long as you set some time aside each day to concentrate on stretching out areas that are in need. We spend so much of our lives at work, putting our bodies through the same movement patterns, over and over again, and your body suffers for it! Muscles become fatigued and over-worked, causing pain and stiffness. By stretching for just 10 minutes a day, you can really make a difference to this.
Top Tips for stretching...
* Identify the areas that need help!
These are usually the muscles that hurt after a days' work, so pay attention to your body. Once you've found your 'tired' muscles, you can research a few simple stretches for that area. For example, if it's the tops of your shoulders that you feel ache, try googling 'stretches for upper back or shoulders' and pick a couple of exercises to try.
* Make sure you hold the stretch long enough!
Use your stretch time wisely. Make sure you are following the instructions for each stretch, and with each different position, hold it for long enough to feel the benefits. This is usually anything from 45 - 90 seconds. You'll know when the muscles have stretched when you physically feel it lengthen, and you'll be able to take the stretch further.
2.) Move more!
Most of us would benefit from being more active. We lead very sedentary lives now - working in offices and hopping in our car whenever we need to go anywhere. This puts us at a high risk of being overweight - a significant threat to our health. For those of us carrying excess weight, we put our backs under additional stress, as well as our hips, knees and ankles joints, so we are far are more likely to develop an injury. As well as shedding a few lbs, you'll also notice a huge endorphin release from exercise - the result, you'll feel far happier and much more energised day to day.
3.) Stress less!
Each day we put both our mind, and body through huge levels of stress due to the pressures of daily existence. With a world that is pretty much 24/7, there's no clear distinction between work mode and home mode anymore, and the result of this is that we end up feeling like we're on a constant hamster wheel, always chasing the next thing, but never quite achieving. When we feel stressed our muscles hold themselves differently, resulting in tension headaches, stiffness and general aching through the body.
So how can we prevent this? We all need to allow ourselves the time to stop and re-charge. Regularly. Without this precious recovery time, we will inevitably burn-out. It's not a matter of if, it's a matter of when. Schedule in some 'you' time each week, even if it's just an hour. This could be in the form of a walk in nature, a massage, or a candle-lit bath with soft music - whatever makes you feel good, do that!
The mind and body are so perfectly inter-linked that we must look after them both to ensure we stay happy and free from pain. One won't work without the other!
Over & out lovely people,
The Therapy Barn