Tuesday, May 16, 2017

4 Tips for a Healthy, Active Spring and Summer

The warmer seasons bring more chances to get outdoors and ramp up physical activity. After the winter chill is finally gone for good, it’s nice take advantage of the more healthful opportunities offered by the warmer weather. The trick is to not overdo it. Getting your body used to
a more active lifestyle takes some conditioning and common sense. Keep these four tips in mind as you head out the door.

1. Use heat therapy to soothe muscles before and after exercise.  Most people know that a heating pad or warm bath after a workout or slight injury can make a significant difference in terms of pain reduction and comfort. What is not so well known is that heat can play a preventative role, too. Heat application prior to activity loosens the soft tissues to decrease stiffness and increase flexibility. After a workout, muscles and joints are potentially dehydrated and not as stable as when they have been resting.  Applying a heating pad or wrap for 10 minutes or so after strenuous activity increases the flow of oxygen and nutrients to the muscles, helping to heal damaged tissue and return muscles to their normal state without seizing up.
  1. Stretch to release stiff joints and prevent injury. Similar to heat therapy, a stretching session of five minutes both before and after physical activity can help to loosen tight muscles and prevent injury. The quadriceps and hamstrings in your thighs are generally the largest muscles of the body and deserve special attention. That means stretching the back, front, and inner and outer thigh. It may seem a bit much, but you can’t really move without them so it’s worth the effort, particularly because they play a key supporting role for your back. Concentrate on these muscles first, and then work up through the back, arms, and neck, and then down through the calf and ankle.

  2. Don’t shortchange your sleep.  It can be difficult to adjust to the longer days of spring and summer.  Sleep deprivation and insomnia are major causes of on-the-job injury, as well as other health problems. How can you get the shut-eye you need? Your body responds to routine on both conscious and unconscious levels, so going to bed at the same time and only using the bedroom at nighttime can help switch your mindset into ‘sleep mode’. In addition, caffeine is widely known for its stimulating effect, which can interfere with deep sleep, so most doctors recommend eliminating caffeinated drinks after lunch. 

    4. Move away from your desk, couch, car or gardening stool. It’s all too easy to focus on a task only to look up and realize that you have been in essentially the same position for two hours. Sitting too long in one position slows down blood flow to both appendages and your brain, so move them. Use your cell phone or watch to set a reminder to move every 20 to 30 minutes. Get up and walk around the house or office, or fold a load of laundry, or take out the trash. It doesn’t matter what you do, really, only that you change position and use the major limbs in a different way. 

    Call ABChiropractic Family & Wellness at 636-916-0660 to schedule your appointment today.  We are conveniently located in St. Charles, MO 63303.  

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