September is a time of year where many of us look forward to the warmer weather and blue skies. This can be a very busy season – and become even busier in the lead up to end of year activities.
Now is a great time to reassess our current daily routine and focus on spring cleaning our current habits and home and work environment, to ensure that we can continue to improve musculoskeletal health.
Here are some quick tips from our Chiropractic and Pilates team that may help you to stay on track with your health this September:
1. Micro Stretch Sessions:
It’s no secret that many people feel increased stress due to busy and demanding lifestyles, so nervous system health and mindful movement is important. Create a clear and uncluttered space at home where you can spend time to stretch every morning or evening, even for just 5 minutes a day. You don’t need a lot of space or equipment to stretch at home, a simple mat in your favourite room, and a small prop such as a resistance band can help you to stay mobile and flexible every day. Once this becomes a habit, you may want to try adding more mini stretch sessions throughout the day and enjoy the benefits of more mobility and less build up of muscular tension from repetitive postural habits and movements.
2. Add Up All Your Moves:
Not all exercise benefits come from long sessions at the gym, in fact studies suggest there are less benefits to exercising at a higher intensity on an occasional basis and then sitting down for long periods of time, than incidental movement more often throughout the day. Regular movement and variety of movement throughout the day makes a difference to health. If you can walk to your workplace or to the shops, try parking the car a little further away each time, or consider riding a bike to work if this option is available to you.
3. Slow Down Your Pace:
Low-intensity steady state (LISS) exercise has all the benefits of high impact exercise for cardiovascular and musculoskeletal health, however it has the added bonus of being more gentle, improving recovery, reducing the risk of injury and is low impact for joint health. Incorporating LISS exercise into your weekly routine is fairly straightforward, for example instead of doing a fast run for 20-30 minutes, you may walk for a longer period of time, eg: 60 minutes, with approximately 60% of maximum effort. Other tailored exercise sessions such as Pilates and Yoga can also include low intensity movement for stamina, and strength building with less impact on joints.
4. Stack your Habits:
If you feel too busy to exercise and are overwhelmed by your schedule, try attaching a single exercise to one daily lifestyle habit you already do on a regular basis. For example, when you are making a coffee, or doing a basic household task, you might add a favourite stretch, balance exercise or practice a breathing exercise. Regular practice can really add up to multiple muscle, bone and joint health benefits. By connecting one task to another action every day, you can create an automated healthy habit.
5. Try the 30:2 Rule:
Every 30 minutes of sitting at a desk should include at least 2 minutes of movement for musculoskeletal health. Keep moving at work and this may have improved benefits on posture, mobility and even boost work productivity. Instead of sitting during meetings, try stand up meetings and walking to lunch, and taking the stairs rather than the lift. These are simple but effective ways to fit in some extra movement during your workday.
6. Exercise Outdoors for Added Health Benefits:
Gardening is a great way to boost bone strength, stamina and joint health in Spring. Multiple studies have shown there are additional benefits for the mind body health of gardeners. To enjoy the benefits of this activity, your Chiropractor can give you some additional helpful tips on moving and lifting, digging and weeding for your posture and spine health. (Remember to practice sun safe practices when gardening outdoors.)
7. Listen to your Body:
As the weather warms up, we may want to exercise more frequently and with increased weights or intensity, however overtraining can increase risk of injury and accidents. Check in with your medical and health and fitness professionals before starting a new exercise routine, especially if you have a history of pain, symptoms or falls. They can help to assess and diagnose any conditions that may be contributing to pain or muscular imbalances and recommend the best treatment plan moving forward.
8. Prioritise your Health Routines:
Research suggests that having a regular routine can help to reduce stress hormones, as consistency can help promote a sense of confidence. Remember, sometimes it is the smallest steps that can make a difference to our health and wellbeing when they are repeated consistently over time, as setting realistic and achievable goals can be less overwhelming, more achievable and lead to continued improvement in our musculoskeletal health.
We hope you enjoy the beautiful weather this season and enjoy implementing some of these simple and easy tips for a healthy Spring this year.