If the year 2020 has taught us anything, it’s that flexibility is the key to both our physical strength and emotional resilience. During National Chiropractic Health Month, the American Chiropractic Association reminds us that by paying more attention to our physical and emotional health, we can actually thrive in the new normal. Learn why being “active and adaptive” is so important, and the four steps you can take right now to improve your overall health and well-being.
STEP ONE: MOVE IT!
The coronavirus pandemic has changed the way we work and live. Many Americans have shifted to remote work and online learning and are avoiding indoor spaces such as gyms and health clubs. People are generally moving less and many are experiencing back pain and other musculoskeletal conditions as a result.
In addition, many seniors, who have a higher risk of serious illness from COVID-19, are spending more time indoors, with limited opportunities for physical activity.
- The CDC recommends adults get either 150 minutes of moderate-intensity or 75 minutes of vigorous-intensity aerobic activity each week.
- In addition, children and teenagers should get at least 60 minutes of physical activity every day or almost every day.
- For seniors, physical activity should focus not only on strengthening muscles, bones and joints, but also improving balance to reduce the risk of falls. Lightweight strength training, walking, yoga or pilates, and swimming are all good options.
STEP TWO: CORRECT YOUR POSTURE
Working from home on a computer often leads to slouching, leaning, or craning the neck — which in turn leads to spinal misalignment. Low back pain, in particular, is the single leading cause of disability worldwide, leading to chronic pain, lost productivity and other problems.
An ergonomically optimized home workstation can keep bones and joints in alignment so that muscles are used correctly, decreasing the abnormal wearing of joint surfaces that could result in degenerative arthritis and joint pain.
- When sitting, put both feet on the floor with a right angle at your knees. Avoid crossing legs or tucking in feet. Good posture means the bones carry the weight of your body. Aligning your posture lets your bones do the work, not your muscles. This prevents muscle spasm, pain and inflammation. It can even prevent nerve pain and headaches.
- Use a keyboard tray and pull it out over your lap. If you use a laptop, use it as a screen only, placing it at eye level with a stand or a stack of books. Get a remote keyboard to use with a keyboard tray.
- To avoid neck pain, keep your screen at eye level whether you use a laptop or monitor. Put books underneath your monitor to raise it or use a stand, if necessary.
STEP THREE: GET MORE REST
As discussed in a previous blog, our bodies can only heal when we sleep. And if you’re not getting the recommended 7-9 hours of sleep per night, your immune system and even your mental outlook on life can be negatively affected.
During times like these, it’s common for people to experience insomnia due to anxiety or depression, but there are things you can do to help coax your body and mind to settle into a good night’s sleep — without drugs or medication.
- Try to maintain a consistent sleep routine by going to bed at around the same time every night and waking up at the same time every morning.
- Avoid exercising right before bedtime, which will heighten your cortisol levels and interfere with sleep.
- Avoid “blue light” screens like the kind output by TVs, cell phones, and tablets.
- Try not to eat immediately before going to bed.
- Avoid caffeine or other stimulants four to six hours before sleep time.
- Turn off TVs, cell phones, and any other devices that might wake you or disturb your REM sleep cycles.
STEP FOUR: MANAGE STRESS
According to a recent survey, the number of Americans suffering from anxiety and depression has more than tripled during the COVID-19 pandemic. If you’re one of these folks, it’s important to know that although you may be sheltering in place, you don’t have to suffer in silence. There are actions you can take to reduce anxiety and depression and make your stress level more manageable, including:
- Add a weekly massage to your schedule to help you relax and de-stress.
- Take a break from TV news and social media, which can make you feel helpless, angry or stressed.
- Communicate with friends and family regularly via phone or video chat.
- Reduce alcohol consumption and try to eat a healthy, balanced diet.
- Get outdoors as often as you can for fresh air and sunshine.
- Set aside time every day to unwind and do something you really enjoy.
- Try guided meditations, visualizations, or sound meditations like those offered on the CALM app.
- For extra help, consider all-natural products like Rescue Remedy or CBD oil.
We’re Here to Help
Now more than ever, the services we offer at Apollo Chiropractic are helping people just like you to survive and thrive in the new normal. We treat the whole person — not just your symptoms — in a caring, compassionate environment. Contact us to schedule your next adjustment, massage or health consultation.