It’s that time of year again between Christmas and New Year. There is a high chance that many (or all of us) will have eaten and drunk too much and perhaps not done much exercise in the past few days (or weeks!)
Our thoughts tend to turn to New Year Resolutions and how we want to improve our life next year.
Common resolutions are losing weight, stop smoking or start that exercise routine. These are all brilliant resolutions but I would like to add another to your list for consideration – Improving your spinal health.
The reason I suggest this is that I think our spines are often overlooked when we think about our health. But, also because if you add this to your list by trying the six suggestions below it will also have a positive impact on your health in other areas.
Ready to make spinal health your New Year’s Resolution?
Here are the 6 ways you can do it.
This is the piece of advice I give many of my patients. We all spend too much time sitting and it is not good for spinal health. Even if you have a brilliant posture sitting for too long can be harmful. It is not only harmful to your spine but it increases your risk of cardiovascular disease and diabetes. So sitting less will not only help your spine but can help your avoid other illnesses as well.
2. Move more
This goes hand in hand with sit less. Make the most of your lunch hour and get outside for a short walk. If you work from home then take a 10 minute walk before and after work. Sometimes starting a class or going to the gym can seem to much to start with, so try and squeeze in movement wherever you can in the day. Whether it is getting up in the ad breaks, walking rather than driving the school run or taking the stairs instead of the lift. Every bit of movement helps. The more active you are the more likely you are to burn calories and lose weight, which can help towards a resolution a lot of us aim for each year.
3. Strengthen your core
Many of us have weak backs. Core strengthening exericses such as pilates can really help strengthening the muscles that support the spine. This can lead to less back pain. If you are local to Newbury I can highly recommend Mel Rickerby’s classes and if you are nervous about starting in a class she also offers 1-1 sessions as well.
4. Keep your body flexibile
Too much time spent sitting can lead to tight muscles which in turn can lead to injuries. Regular stretching can help keep the spine and body flexible. In the Newbury/ Thatcham area I recommend Rachel and Abi at Living Saucha.
Or if you are too far away for that then Yoga with Adriene is a brilliant online teacher worth trying.
5. Limit your screen time
Too much time spent if front of screens is bad for your upper back and neck and can lead to pain in those areas as well as headaches. Limiting time in front of screens can help reduce the stress on the muscles and joints of your neck and upper back. Spending time away from your phone, preferably with your phone on silence in another room. Is also good for your mental health.
6. Check your posture
Whether it is desk, car or sleeping posture. These are positions we all spend a lot of time in. So if we are in any of these postures badly it can irritate the spine.
It is worth checking these a few times a year to make sure that your spine and body is well supported in each position.
There are my top six ways to make spinal health a resolution for next year and as you can see, if you try them it will benefit other areas of your health as well.
Wishing you a happy and healthy New Year!