I think we can all make a list of ways to improve our health. We don’t take action because there are just so many things we could be working on and it’s overwhelming. Should you exercise more? Get adjusted more? Take this supplement or that one? How many vitamins does one person really need to take on a daily basis?
While we know there are many things to focus on, we lose track of the “why” behind our action steps. Running 10 miles every day to lose weight will work, but is that the only way to accomplish the goal? Is losing weight really the goal, or is it to have more energy? Spending time focusing on the process and remembering what we’re hoping to achieve is a far better approach to getting to better health.
Based on conversations with my patients, I think you can hit 80-90% of your goals for better health if you focus just on the following three areas: better posture, reducing inflammation, and managing stress. Most of the activities that you need to do to improve these areas work well together.
Have Better Posture
Having better posture isn’t just remembering to sit up straight. If you still think that, I assume you’re new here and we haven’t had a chance to speak on the subject. Better posture involves stretching (usually the front of your body) and strengthening (usually your back) while maintaining good spinal function (like with chiropractic).
Maintaining good spinal function means you are improving how your nervous system functions, which is the system that controls every other system in your body. It’s impossible to be as healthy as you can be is your nervous system isn’t working right.
Good posture also will reduce the frequency of headaches, neck pain, upper back pain, mid back pain, and low back pain. The stretches associated with improving your posture also can stop sciatica, leg pain, and arm pain. That’s a lot of better health and less pain in one major step!
This area of health-improving activities will apply to your diet and nutrition. The leading causes of death in the U.S. are heart disease and cancer, and both are linked to inflammation in the body.
“For short-term conditions, inflammation is helpful,” explains Erin Michos, MD. “But sustained low levels of inflammation irritate your blood vessels. Inflammation may promote the growth of plaques, loosen plaque in your arteries and trigger blood clots — the primary cause of heart attacks and strokes.” (Johns Hopkins Medicine)
“Chronic inflammation may be caused by infections that don’t go away, abnormal immune reactions to normal tissues, or conditions such as obesity. Over time, chronic inflammation can cause DNA damage and lead to cancer.” (National Cancer Center)
When you start reading and looking at the long list of ways to reduce inflammation your body, it can become overwhelming. Books like The Sugar Impact Diet and The Bulletproof Diet are a couple of my favorites for addressing nutritional options to reduce inflammation.
If you’re looking for the general theme, it’s eliminate sugar. Sugar is in a lot of our foods and we don’t even realize it because it goes by so many different names. Even foods that you don’t think are sweet can have sugar to make up for taking fat out of it. Yes, you should stop all the desserts and sugary drinks, but reducing your carbs will help you feel way better and slow down inflammation in your body.
It seems like everyone knows they are stressed, they just don’t do much about it. They may jump on social media (doesn’t work), have a few drinks (short-term result), or “try to relax” (doesn’t work well for most people). Our bodies react to a nasty email the same way they would react to seeing a tiger in the wild. Our body, muscles, adrenaline, and heart rate prepare to run as fast as we can. But we don’t. We sit at our desk, frustrated, and the stress stays with us.
That’s why, in my opinion, the only real way to reduce the stress hiding in your body is to exercise. Do something that gets your heart rate up. Walking around the block is fine, but doing so at a brisk pace will be far more effective. Just had a bad phone call? Go up and down the stairs a few times and you’ll dump some of that negativity that’s in your body.
Even better, get on a regular exercise routine. Find something you like and something that you can stick with consistently for best results. If you don’t like running, don’t run. If you want something lower impact, try swimming or yoga. You don’t have to be good at, you just have to do it consistently.
Moving forward, you will see our blogs, videos, and social media posts give you tips and recommendations on ways to affect your posture, inflammation, and stress. If you can be mindful of helping yourself in these areas, you will see big changes in your overall health and pain levels.
Ready to do something right now? Stay consistent with your chiropractic adjustments, exercise, and don’t eat sugar. Do those 3 things and you’ll be surprised and how much better you’ll feel.